The ODD Protocol was initially proposed by Volker Grimm et al. in 2006 with the following rationale:
Simulation models that describe autonomous individual organisms (individual based models, IBM) or agents (agent-based models, ABM) have become a widely used tool, not only in ecology, but also in many other disciplines dealing with complex systems made up of autonomous entities. However, there is no standard protocol for describing such simulation models, which can make them difficult to understand and to duplicate.
The ODD is organized around the three main components to be documented about a model:
These components encompass seven sub-elements that must be documented in sufficient depth for the model's purpose and design to be clear and replicable for a third party: Purpose, State Variables and Scales, Process Overview and Scheduling, Design Concepts, Initialization, Input, and Submodels.
In addition to the original 2006 publication, Grimm et al. have continued to publish updates to the protocol with examples of its application to research projects.