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Supporting large-scale scientific workflows in distributed network environments and optimizing their performances are crucial to the success of collaborative scientific discovery. We develop a generic scientific workflow platform, referred to as SciFlow, which constitutes a flexible framework to facilitate the distributed execution and management of scientific workflows and incorporates a class of workflow mapping schemes to achieve optimal end-to-end performances. The functionalities of SciFlow are provided and its interactions with other tools or systems are enabled through web services for easy access over standard Internet protocols while being independent of different platforms and programming languages. The performance superiority of SciFlow over existing workflow mapping schemes and management systems is illustrated by extensive simulations and is further verified by large-scale experiments on real-life scientific workflows through effective system implementation and deployment in distributed network environments.