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Day One Group Assignment Part One


Teaching: 0 min
Exercises: 105 min
  • How are interaction data published and shared?

  • How can you find interaction data?

  • What are skills needed to review a dataset?

  • What makes a dataset easy to reuse?

  • Articulate how interaction datasets are shared and published

  • Discuss ways to structure a data review

  • Get a feel for what it takes to reuse a dataset

  • Write a data review

In the pre-workshop assignment you:

In this morning group exercise,

Please try and stick to the provided timelines

The short timelines are meant to simulate the immense time pressure that some academics are under.

But also, in academic tradition, please feel free to ignore instructions, and improvise when appropriate.


Exercise 1. Say Hi

Total time ~ 10 minutes (10:15-10:25 CET)

Take a moment to look around your meeting space (virtual or not), and wave at your fellow participants. Turn on your video so that others can do the same. Notice the different names, faces, and locations.


  • open the collaborative meeting notes at

  • add your name, preferred pronouns, and what you ate for breakfast in the document (< 30 seconds)

  • after everyone entered their name, take turns giving a short 30 second introduction by voice/video (< 30s * 16 ~ 10 minutes)

  • after you introduce yourself put a +1 sign after your name

Now that we know a little more about each other, and heard each others voice, please realize that you all come from different backgrounds and bring unique skills and experience to this workshop.

Please be patient with yourself and others when interacting with others, and encourage yourself and others to speak up, listen, and collaborate.

Dissecting Species Interactions

Species interactions are diverse and complex, and may be tricky to classify, parse, and organize.

Exercise 2. Parsing Species Interactions

total time ~ 35 minutes (10:25-11:00 CET)

In the pre-workshop assignment, you shared an example of a species interactions.

Now, we are going to closely examine these examples:

⚠️make sure to use only elements from the original/verbatim text you provided in the pre-workshop assignment.⚠️

Please see if you need some inspiration for terms.

Now, you’ve gotten a sense of what it takes to transcribe species interaction claims from text, let’s discuss some questions related to the kind of information you extracted.

Discussion: What makes for a useful species interaction description?

Take some time as a group to comment on the following questions in our collaborative meeting notes:

  1. Which verbatim descriptions of species interactions do you find informative?

  2. What information elements help describe species interaction records?

  3. What format to describe species interaction records do you find useful?

Congratulations, you’ve just collaboratively transcribed and discussed examples of species interaction records!

Time permitting, please take a break to celebrate.

Reviewing Existing Species Interaction Datasets

So far, we’ve looked at descriptions of individual records. Next, we’ll have a look at published collections of species interaction records, or existing species interaction datasets.

But first, we’ll come up with a list of datasets we’d like to review.

Exercise 3. Curate a list of species interaction datasets for review

Total time ~ 10 minutes (11:10 - 11:20 CET)

  1. Copy-paste your citation (max 1 per participant) of a published interaction dataset from the pre-workshop assignment 1 into our collaborative meeting notes in the Selecting Existing Species Interaction Data For Review section, prefixed with you name in parenthesis.

  2. Wait until everyone is finished (< 1 minute)

  3. Starting from the top, each participant explains why they selected the study and what kind of interaction data it contains (< 30s per citation)

  4. After each citation has been discussed, place a +1 next to the citation that you are interested in. You can use only 1 “+1” per citation. (< 30s)

  5. After the votes are in, select the three most popular citations. Mark the citations in bold in the collaborative document.

  6. Take a minute or two to confirm that the 3 selected works in fact contain a species interaction dataset. If not, replace the dataset-less study with another from the big list.

We’ve now narrowed down our list of data publications to three, and we are getting ready to review them.

Reviewing Species Interaction Datasets

Data review is an important phase in the scientific publication process.

In this section, we’ll take the three selected publications and review them separately in groups.

To help expedite the process, we’ll split the participants into groups of 3-4.

Each group will review all selected publications using the Nature Scientific Data’s “Guide To Referees”, section “Writing the Review” (see

Finally, each group will assign a “reject”, “accept with minor revision”, “accept with major revision”, or “accept” to each publication.

Exercise 4. Write a data review

Total time ~ 40 minutes (11:20 - 12:00 CET)

  1. To start with the review, go to the “Say Hi” section of our collaborative notes at .

  2. Randomly divide the participants in groups of 3-4 participants

  3. For each group, create a break-out room, and select one of the pre-created group review documents, and add participants names.

  4. For each group, copy-paste the citations, review instructions.

  5. For each group, discuss among participants how to complete a review for all selected publications, using the review instructions as guideli

  6. Each group starts reviewing the selected publications independently.

If you feel ambitious, you can use some of your 12:00-14:30 break to continue collaborating on your group reviews.

At 14:30, each group will have 5 minutes to share their recommendations for the selected publications.

(extra credit) consolidate the reviews into a single consensus recommendation for each publication.

What’s Next?

See workshop page for what is next!

Key Points

  • Many species interaction datasets are openly published

  • Interaction data are shared in various ways

  • Many interaction data records have common data elements

  • Reviewing data can be time consuming