The ODD protocol: A review and first update

By Volker Grimm, Uta Berger, Donald L. DeAngelis, J. Gary Polhill, Jarl Giske, Steven F. Railsback

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The ‘ODD’ (Overview, Design concepts, and Details) protocol was published in 2006 to standardize the published descriptions of individual-based and agent-based models (ABMs). The primary objectives of ODD are to make model descriptions more understandable and complete, thereby making ABMs less subject to criticism for being irreproducible. We have systematically evaluated existing uses of the ODD protocol and identified, as expected, parts of ODD needing improvement and clarification. Accordingly, we revise the definition of ODD to clarify aspects of the original version and thereby facilitate future standardization of ABM descriptions. We discuss frequently raised critiques in ODD but also two emerging, and unanticipated, benefits: ODD improves the rigorous formulation of models and helps make the theoretical foundations of large models more visible. Although the protocol was designed for ABMs, it can help with documenting any large, complex model, alleviating some general objections against such models.

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Supplementary Material:

  • Supplement 1:  Table S1. Evaluation of 54 publications that use the ODD protocol for describing an individual- or agent-based model. (See text for further explanations).
  • Supplement 2:  This supplement can be used as a template for writing ODD model descriptions. It contains Section 3 of the manuscript. After reading the explanations and typing the answers to the question, ODD users should have a clear and complete ODD model description of their individual- or agent-based models. Questions and explanations should, of course, be deleted then.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Grimm, V., Berger, U., DeAngelis, D. L., Polhill, J. G., Giske, J., & Railsback, S. F. (2010). The ODD protocol: a review and first update. Ecological Modelling, 221(23), 2760-2768.