Shit and the Need for Data-Driven Standards

Feces, faeces, ordure, dung, manure, excreta, stool, stool-NOT-faeces, and stool-NOT-feces are the prime examples in a newly published study that examines the need for data-driven standards. The study is:

Laying a Community-Based Foundation for Data-Driven Semantic Standards in Environmental Health Sciences,” Carolyn J. Mattingly, Rebecca Boyles, Cindy P. Lawler, Astrid C. Haugen, Allen Dearry, and Melissa Haendel, Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 124, no. 8, August 2016, pp. 1136-1140. The authors, at North Carolina State University, the National Institutes of Health, and Oregon Health & Science University, present the essence of their argument in Table 1, which is reproduced here:

“Table 1. Variable results from a PubMed query of microbiome samples illustrates the consequences of lacking semantic standards and implementation.”


(Thanks to Tony Tweedale for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: Ed Yong has a new book about the microbiome. It’s called I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Inside Us and a Grander View of Life.