3.5.3 Minimum Information guidelines

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​​​A. Background & Definitions

The purpose of the different Minimum Information (MI) guidelines is to ensure the data generated using the respective method or technique can be easily verified, analyzed and interpreted by the wider scientific community. Ultimately, MI standards should ensure that information generated by using certain methods should be structured and organised in a way that facilitates data sharing, the verification of results and the re-use of data. The concept of ‘Minimum Information’ standards was first introduced in 2001 by developing and publishing the MIAME (Minimum Information’ about a microarray experiment) guidelines. Here the authors provided detailed guidance on what information, specifications and meta data about an microarray experiment is crucial and important to be reported - so that any data sets generated can be used to their full potential and readers obtain a comprehensive understanding of the published experiment.

B. Guidance & Expectations

Minimum Information guidelines also support scientists in understanding which experimental factors and variables most likely affect the outcome of a specific test and should therefore be considered during the design, execution and reporting stages of a study. Only when it is clear which information is to be documented and monitored during the study reproducible research results and high-quality reports can be achieved. Thus, EQIPD suggests to consider the MI guidelines at different phases during the experimental conduct:

  • when designing the experiment (so that critical factors can be included and considered in the study protocol)
  • when deciding on which information to be documented in the lab journal (so that this information is available when writing the study report or publication)
  • when preparing a manuscript for publication (so that the minimum set of information is available for readers to understand and reproduce the results)

C. Resources

An overview of developed MI guidelines is provided by the FAIRsharing.org website with the possibility to search for specific techniques or methods of interest.

Selection of developed Minimum Information Standards:

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