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Stanford psychologists simplify brain-imaging data to foster more transparency, discoveries

Researchers at the Stanford Center for Reproducible Neuroscience are working to make it easier to share brain-imaging data and collaborate more effectively. (Image credit: Nomadsoul1 / Getty Images)

Oct 2 2017

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Faculty, In the News

Researchers at the Stanford Center for Reproducible Neuroscience are championing a new way of organizing brain-imaging data that they hope will lead to more transparency, more collaboration and ultimately a better understand of the brain.

Neuroscience research has made incredible strides toward revealing the inner workings of our brains – how we make decisions, plan for the future or experience emotions – thanks in part to technological advances, but barriers in sharing and accessing that data stymie progress in the field.

Stanford psychologists are addressing those barriers through a new way of organizing brain-imaging data that simplifies data analysis and helps researchers collaborate more effectively – they call it BIDS (Brain Imaging Data Structure).

The easier it becomes to analyze and organize data, said Russell Poldrack, a professor of psychology, the more easily that data can be shared among researchers, leading to more transparency and more progress in understanding the brain.

“We’ve been interested for a long time in finding ways to share data between groups,” said Poldrack, director of the Stanford Center for Reproducible Neuroscience. “Sharing data is a good thing because it allows different research groups to reuse data and maximizes its potential.”