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Neuroimage. 2009 Oct 1;47(4):1720-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.03.086. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Is it time to re-prioritize neuroimaging databases and digital repositories?

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  • 1Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7334, USA.


The development of in vivo brain imaging has lead to the collection of large quantities of digital information. In any individual research article, several tens of gigabytes-worth of data may be represented-collected across normal and patient samples. With the ease of collecting such data, there is increased desire for brain imaging datasets to be openly shared through sophisticated databases. However, very often the raw and pre-processed versions of these data are not available to researchers outside of the team that collected them. A range of neuroimaging databasing approaches has streamlined the transmission, storage, and dissemination of data from such brain imaging studies. Though early sociological and technical concerns have been addressed, they have not been ameliorated altogether for many in the field. In this article, we review the progress made in neuroimaging databases, their role in data sharing, data management, potential for the construction of brain atlases, recording data provenance, and value for re-analysis, new publication, and training. We feature the LONI IDA as an example of an archive being used as a source for brain atlas workflow construction, list several instances of other successful uses of image databases, and comment on archive sustainability. Finally, we suggest that, given these developments, now is the time for the neuroimaging community to re-prioritize large-scale databases as a valuable component of brain imaging science.

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