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Neurodata Without Borders is helping to accelerate brain research by making it easier to share data. In this new video, two of the project’s founders, Christof Koch of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Karel Svoboda of HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus, discuss its history—and how data sharing could transform the field of neuroscience.
In mid-2014, The Kavli Foundation initiated Neurodata Without Borders, a consortium of researchers and foundations with a common interest in tackling the data-sharing problem in neuroscience. They started with a one-year pilot project to create a standardized data format for cellular-based neurophysiology data. It was called Neurodata Without Borders: Neurophysiology (NWB:N).
This week, at the 2017 Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., the NWB:N team is releasing an enhanced version of the data format they developed. Known as NWB 2.0. the format will enable data sharing within and among labs at a time when researchers are generating more data about the brain than ever before, and the number of large-scale neuroscience projects is growing.
“One of the things that we can do right now [to enable data sharing] is make sure that the data are actually written in a way that I can read, or that anybody else on the planet can read. That’s what we concentrated on with this initiative,” says Koch.