What’s the Answer? (documenting bioinformatics work)

BioStar is a site for asking, answering and discussing bioinformatics questions. We are members of thecommunity and find it very useful. Often questions and answers arise at BioStar that are germane to our readers (end users of genomics resources). Every Thursday we will be highlighting one of those questions and answers here in this thread. You can ask questions in this thread, or you can always join in at BioStar.

This week’s question generated some good discussion of various strategies….

How does a Bioinformatics Scientist document his/her work?

My company is developing guidelines for employees to document their work so that in the event of an external audit there is a clear trail of what was done. So, just as bench scientists fill in their lab notebooks, we bioinformatics folks are expected to record our work in a “notebook”. The question is: what is exactly worth documenting? Should every minor change in a script be recorded? Or should a written summary of what tasks a given program accomplishes suffice? I would like to hear about your experiences in documenting your programming/data analysis work. Thanks, Anjan

Interesting question which generated discussion about how this is approached by different people. Some are in company settings where an audit trail is really important, some have less stringent requirements but also still need to manage this issue. Go have a look at the answers and see how people have worked this out.