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Why endorse?

INCF has implemented  a formal procedure for evaluating and endorsing community standards and best practices in support of the FAIR principles. Our mission is to make neuroscience more open and FAIR, to ensure that research funds and efforts are well invested, and that neuroscientific findings are robust and replicable. 

Quality community standards are necessary to make FAIR resources and processes work, but too many neuroscience communities lack robust standards or have competing incompatible standards. The rapid development of new techniques also means that there is a continuous need for new and updated standards, and that old standards need an active developer and user community keeping them up to date.

By endorsing standards, INCF wants to 

  • Make it easy to find the best, most reliable standard appropriate for your research
  • Ensure recognition for community members investing their time and effort in standards 

How is endorsement done?

All standards and best practices applicable to neuroscience research may be submitted by either the developer or a member of the user community. Submissions undergo an initial vetting for appropriateness by the INCF Standards and Best Practices Committee before being formally accepted into the endorsement process which is composed of an expert review against an established set of criteria, community review, and final committee review which takes comments received during the expert and community reviews into consideration. At each phase of the endorsement process, submitters are able to provide responses to comments and provide additional supporting materials

Evaluation criteria for endorsing a standard

1: Open

1.1: Is the SBP covered under an open license so that it is free to implement and reuse by all interested parties (including commercial)? (List of open source licenses)
1.2: What license is used?
1.3: Does the SBP follow open development practices?
1.4: Where and how are the code/documents managed?
1.5: Any additional comments on the openness of the SBP?

2: FAIR 2.1: SBP uses/permits persistent identifiers where appropriate (F1)
2.2: SBP allows addition of rich metadata to research objects (F2)
2.3: SBP uses/permits addition of appropriate PIDs to metadata (F3)
2.4: The protocol allows for an authentication and authorization when required (A1-2)
2.5: SBP uses or allows the use of vocabularies that follow the FAIR principles (I2)
2.6: SBP includes/allows qualified links to other identifiers (I3)
2.7: Does the standard interoperate with other relevant standards in the same domain? (I1)
2.8: Does the SBP provide citation metadata so its use can be documented and tracked? (R1.2)
2.9: Does the SBP have a clear versioning scheme and appropriate
2.10: Any additional comments on aspects of FAIR?
3: Testing and implementation

3.1: Does the SBP provide an architectural concept to understand its implementation and relationships to external entities?
3.2: Does the SBP have a reference implementation?
3.3: What software resources (files/scripts/libraries/tools) are available to support the SBP?
3.4: Are the supporting software resources tools and implementations
covered under an open source license?
      a.    Are the supporting software resources well documented (documentation of I/O operations, programming interfaces, user interfaces, installation)?
      b.    Were the supporting software resources validated?
      c.    What is your assessment of the quality of the code/document?
      d.    Have the supporting software resources been deployed, is there any experience or references to their use by the community?
3.5: Any additional comments on design, testing, and implementation?

4: Governance 4.1: Does the SBP have a clear description on who is maintaining the SBP and how decisions regarding its development are made?
4.2: Is the governing model document for maintenance and updates compatible with the INCF project governing model document and the open standards principles?
4.3: Is the SBP actively supported by the community? If so, what is the evidence?
4.4: Does the SBP provide tools for community feedback and support? 4.5: Any additional comments on governance?
5: Adoption and use 5.1: Is there evidence of community use beyond the group that developed the SBP?
5.2: Please provide some concrete examples of use, e.g., publications where the use of the SBP is cited; databases or other projects that have adopted the SBP
5.3: Is there evidence of international use? 5.4: Any additional comments on use?
6: Stability and support 6.1: Who is responsible for maintaining the SBP? 
6.2: How is it currently supported?
6.3: What is the plan for long term support?
6.4: Are training and other supporting materials available? 
6.5: Any additional comments on sustainability and support
7: Extensibility 7.1: Can the SBP be extended to cover additional domains/use cases? 
7.2: If so, how is the process documented and managed?
7.3: Any additional comments on extensibility?
8: Comparison 8.1: Are there other similar SBP's available?
8.2: If yes, how do they compare on key INCF criteria?
Submit an SBP for endorsement

Vetting and endorsement process

The process is managed by the INCF standards and best practices committee.     

View the full vetting and endorsement process