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Facilitating data sharing in neuroscience

6 November 2023

While neuroscience research is moving from its traditional silos towards FAIR and openness, the field still has issues with data reuse and reanalysis due to a lack of interoperability solutions and brain data standards adoption. 

In basic as well as applied neuroscience research, there is an unmet need for systematic, standardized and well-defined data organization practices and proper data description. Standards are needed at all levels: for data collection and description, for reporting methods and documenting workflows, for describing and sharing code for data processing and analysis. 

Developing standards requires both community coordination and consensus. Standards must also have governance structures to ensure sustainability, in addition to continued development to stay relevant and useful. Software tool developers and maintainers are a necessary link between a community and its standards – adoption by the broader community will not happen without the development of a surrounding software tool ecosystem that implements the standard and continues to support it.INCF facilitates open neuroscience by developing, vetting, and promoting FAIR standards and best practices, and providing training in how to implement these standards and best practices on your own research.

INCF has implemented a formal procedure for evaluating and endorsing community standards and best practices in support of the FAIR principles. By endorsing standards, INCF: 

  • makes it easy to find the best, most reliable standard appropriate for your research

  • ensures recognition for community members investing their time and effort in standards

INCF solicits community feedback as a part of our Standards and Best Practices (SBPs) endorsement process. Feedback from the community ensures that those who will use the standards have a chance to make them as interoperable as possible with the systems, software, and resources that are currently being used in the field. It verifies that the SPBs will benefit the community, and allows for streamlining to make the standards more efficient and effective.

If you know of a standard or best practice that is applicable to neuroscience research that should be endorsed by INCF, submit it here

Data sharing survey

INCF has long held the view that global neuroscience efforts can be enriched, optimized, and accelerated by open and transparent exchange of data between researchers. While several initiatives have been created to facilitate the implementation of the FAIR data principles (i.e., increase the findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reuse of digital assets), there remains considerable room for improvement. In a continuing effort to identify barriers to data sharing and reuse among neuroscience researchers worldwide, INCF’s Infrastructure Committee has developed a brief anonymous survey. The results will be made public and will be used by INCF and its collaborators to develop strategies and activities for supporting the global neuroscience community. 

To have real impact, the survey needs to reach the broadest possible range of neuroscience researchers.  We would be very grateful for your help in spreading the word to your friends and colleagues - the more responses we get, the more valuable and useful the survey will be!

Thank you for devoting 2 minutes of your time to complete the survey.