General FAQs



Question: What is Prometheus Protocols

Answer PROtocols, METHods, Explanations and Updated Standards (Prometheus) is an open-access, fully searchable web resource which contains protocols and methods for plant physiology, ecology and environmental sciences. Prometheus Protocols includes methods and protocols that can be uploaded by anyone in the community, with attributed authorship. This resource allows the gathering in one place of methods, links to published methods papers, and updated detailed protocols used by leading laboratories around the world and placed online with annotation.

Question: How did Prometheus Protocols start up

Answer Prometheus Protocols was initially PrometheusWiki. The wiki was designed during a Working Group in October 2009 hosted by the ARC/NZ Research Network for Vegetation Function, by the founding editors (Margaret Barbour (University of Sydney), Brendan Choat (Australian National University), Will Cornwell (University of California, Berkeley), John Evans (Australian National University), Rana Munns (CSIRO Plant Industry, Australia), Adrienne Nicotra (Australian National University), Lawren Sack ( University of California, Los Angeles), Louis Santiago (University of California, Riverside)), in collaboration with CSIRO PUBLISHING.

Since then has increased its editorial board to include expertise across fields including soil science; plant anatomy, physiology, ecology, biochemistry, whole-plant growth, environmental measures, and statistics. Unfortunately PrometheusWiki was not supported after 2014 and the site gradually lost functionality. Prometheus Protocols represents a rejuvenation of the site, allowing us to update protocols and reach new users. While the site is no longer in a wiki format, it is still designed to be updated regularly, to allow protocol and summary content to keep pace with new developments. 

Question: What is a summary for, who writes the summaries

Answer Summaries are provided at the beginning of each topic area to provide an overview of the current state of that particular field of research. Each of the fifteen major topic areas (e.g. Experimental Treatments, Morphology ) is opened with a summary written by the Prometheus Protocols Editor responsible for overseeing the section. These ‘introductions’ outline the types of research focus within that area. At a lower level, each of the sub-topics (e.g. Hydraulic conductance and conductivity – stems and roots within Water relations ) includes a shorter, more specific summary prior to the list of associated protocols. This outlines important information such as the variety of different approaches available, ranges of values to expect, and associated literature.

Question: What are you trying to achieve with this site

Answer Prometheus Protocols intent is to create a constructive flow of expertise among groups that

  1. moves the field toward standardization using “best practices” and
  2. improves efficiency in the general research effort by promoting communication with respect to methods and protocols.

This resource is intended to lead to strong benefits improving access to training for students and professionals, promoting collaborations, and growing the cutting edge of research. There is a strong need for standardizing in physiological ecology and environmental biology generally, as currently many groups utilize different methods and protocols for specialized as well as common measurements. Thus far, there has been no easy resource to access these protocols or to determine the opinions of experts on the different practices, and this has created a bottleneck in research and student education. This resource will allow student learning of up-to-date methods from protocols online.

Question: Why should I contribute

Answer By contributing, you can:

  • Provide an easy access point for that useful protocol everyone is always asking you for!
  • Make a valuable contribution to standardizing methodologies used within the field
  • Receive feedback and generate discussion on new methods
  • Alert others to alternative ways of conducting certain experiments
  • Encourage others to consult your publications and cite your work which may apply to the protocols you have posted on the site.