Blast from the past

open science

March 4, 2021

A colleague reached out to me recently about a project we’d worked on years ago. The work involved a study of how adult observers categorize visual patterns that have intrinsic regularities. Here are two examples:

We had never finished writing the paper, but in trying to figure out where we’d left off I discovered several things, all of them positive.

We’d left good notes about the project and reasonably well documented code in a repository on GitHub:

We’d stored the images on Databrary so it was easy to retrieve them and match the ratings to the images:

Gilmore, R.O. & Norcia, A.M. (2014). The Salience of Lower-Order, Localized Features in Highly Self-Similar Wallpaper Groups. Databrary. Retrieved March 4, 2021 from

And even though no one had worked on the project in five years, it too, about an hour to get back up to speed and get the project moving again.

I’m not the first or only person to have said that open, transparent, and reproducible research practices benefit your future (forgetful) self. This is a great example of how and why.