Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2101-2117, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-2101-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
30 Apr 2015
Virtual laboratories: new opportunities for collaborative water science
S. Ceola1, B. Arheimer2, E. Baratti1, G. Blöschl3, R. Capell2, A. Castellarin1, J. Freer4, D. Han5, M. Hrachowitz6, Y. Hundecha2, C. Hutton5,4, G. Lindström2, A. Montanari1, R. Nijzink6, J. Parajka3, E. Toth1, A. Viglione3, and T. Wagener5,7 1Department DICAM, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
2Hydrology Research Section, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Norrköping, Sweden
3Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria
4School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
5Department of Civil Engineering, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
6Water Resources Section, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands
7Cabot Institute, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
Abstract. Reproducibility and repeatability of experiments are the fundamental prerequisites that allow researchers to validate results and share hydrological knowledge, experience and expertise in the light of global water management problems. Virtual laboratories offer new opportunities to enable these prerequisites since they allow experimenters to share data, tools and pre-defined experimental procedures (i.e. protocols). Here we present the outcomes of a first collaborative numerical experiment undertaken by five different international research groups in a virtual laboratory to address the key issues of reproducibility and repeatability. Moving from the definition of accurate and detailed experimental protocols, a rainfall–runoff model was independently applied to 15 European catchments by the research groups and model results were collectively examined through a web-based discussion. We found that a detailed modelling protocol was crucial to ensure the comparability and reproducibility of the proposed experiment across groups. Our results suggest that sharing comprehensive and precise protocols and running the experiments within a controlled environment (e.g. virtual laboratory) is as fundamental as sharing data and tools for ensuring experiment repeatability and reproducibility across the broad scientific community and thus advancing hydrology in a more coherent way.

Citation: Ceola, S., Arheimer, B., Baratti, E., Blöschl, G., Capell, R., Castellarin, A., Freer, J., Han, D., Hrachowitz, M., Hundecha, Y., Hutton, C., Lindström, G., Montanari, A., Nijzink, R., Parajka, J., Toth, E., Viglione, A., and Wagener, T.: Virtual laboratories: new opportunities for collaborative water science, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 2101-2117, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-19-2101-2015, 2015.
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We present the outcomes of a collaborative hydrological experiment undertaken by five different international research groups in a virtual laboratory. Moving from the definition of accurate protocols, a rainfall-runoff model was independently applied by the research groups, which then engaged in a comparative discussion. The results revealed that sharing protocols and running the experiment within a controlled environment is fundamental for ensuring experiment repeatability and reproducibility.
We present the outcomes of a collaborative hydrological experiment undertaken by five different...
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