Copying Narratives: issues and workarounds

Collaboration and reproducibility are key parts of KBase’s approach to science. Your analysis workflows, with interleaved commentary, can be saved as KBase Narratives and shared with selected colleagues or with all users.

There are some aspects of sharing and copying Narratives that you should be aware of. We are working on cleaner solutions to these issues, but in the meantime, you can avoid running into problems by following these guidelines.

Narratives are not Google Docs

KBase encourages collaboration, but if you are working with others on a Narrative, please be aware that KBase does not yet support simultaneous editing. For now, we suggest that you and your collaborator(s) take turns editing a shared Narrative, and the other person should be sure to reload the Narrative to get the latest changes before they start their editing session.

Sharing is not transitive

Suppose Researcher A shares their Narrative with Researcher B. B makes a copy of A’s Narrative and then shares it with a third person, C. Since A did not explicitly grant permission to C, some of the results in the copied Narrative may not be viewable by C. When this happens, C may see errors like this in some of the output cells:

We are working on addressing this problem. In the meantime, there are two workarounds that will allow C to see A’s results:

  1. A can explicitly share their Narrative with C.
  2. B can re-run all steps in B’s copy of A’s Narrative before sharing with C. By doing this, B will own all the results in this copy, and will therefore be able to share them with C. Note that since viewers (cells in your Narrative that show information about a data object) don’t have a “run” button, in order to “re-run” the viewers, you need to drag the data object into the Narrative to create a fresh viewer (and then delete the old one).

Provenance and privacy are important to us

Because provenance, privacy and sharing are all important to KBase, we are working on comprehensive ways to allow researchers to protect their private data while sharing what they choose to share, all with provenance tracked. This is complicated, so we ask for your patience while we work towards a better solution.

We’re here to help

If you have any questions or concerns about sharing your Narratives and data, please don’t hesitate to contact us!