Guidelines for a Standardized Filesystem Layout for Scientific Data


Storing scientific data on the filesystem in a meaningful and transparent way is no trivial task. In particular, when the data have to be accessed after their originator has left the lab, the importance of a standardized filesystem layout cannot be underestimated. It is desirable to have a structure that allows for the unique categorization of all kinds of data from experimental results to publications. They have to be accessible to a broad variety of workflows, e.g., via graphical user interface as well as via command line, in order to find widespread acceptance. Furthermore, the inclusion of already existing data has to be as simple as possible. We propose a three-level layout to organize and store scientific data that incorporates the full chain of scientific data management from data acquisition to analysis to publications. Metadata are saved in a standardized way and connect original data to analyses and publications as well as to their originators. A simple software tool to check a file structure for compliance with the proposed structure is presented.

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