By Selina Aragon, Communications Officer, in conversation with Trung Dong Huynh, University of Southampton
This article is part of our series: Breaking Software Barriers, in which we investigate how our Research Software Group has helped projects improve their research software. If you would like help with your software, get in touch.
From concept to software
Provenance is traditionally the record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality. Although mostly used to track the origins of a work of art, the term is now used in an array of fields ranging from palaeontology to science. It refers to having knowledge of all the steps involved in producing a scientific result, such as a figure, from experiment design through acquisition of raw data, and all the subsequent steps of data selection, analysis and visualisation. Such information is necessary for reproduction of a given result, and can serve to establish precedence. This concept also applies to the digital world; that is, data also originates from a particular point, and provenance provides evidence of its point of origin or discovery by establishing its ownership, custody, and transformations.