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Burnett JL, Dale R, Hou C-Y, Palomo-Munoz G, Whitney KS, Aulenbach S, et al. (2021) Ten simple rules for creating a scientific web application. PLoS Comput Biol 17(12): e1009574.




The use of scientific web applications (SWApps) across biological and environmental sciences has grown exponentially over the past decades or so. Although quantitative evidence for such increased use in practice is scant, collectively, we have observed that these tools become more commonplace in teaching, outreach, and in science coproduction (e.g., as decision support tools). Despite the increased popularity of SWApps, researchers often receive little or no training in creating such tools. Although rolling out SWApps can be a relatively simple and quick process using modern, popular platforms like R shiny apps or Tableau dashboards, making them useful, usable, and sustainable is not. These 10 simple rules for creating a SWApp provide a foundation upon which researchers with little to no experience in web application design and development can consider, plan, and carry out SWApp projects.