June 25, 2018

INCF brings the international brain initiatives together to align systems and data standards

On 24 - 25 April 2018 representatives from the large international brain initiatives came together for the INCF Brain Summit “Towards the alignment of the large-scale brain initiatives in support of clinical data” in Stockholm, Sweden.

The aim of the summit was to to identify overlaps, gaps, and opportunities for alignment, particularly in relation to clinical data use cases, between the large international brain initiatives. As an established international facilitator in the neuroinformatics field, INCF is uniquely placed to coordinate the alignment of the large-scale brain initiatives in support of clinical data, and the second goal of this event was to identify concrete steps that INCF can take in this process.

Representatives of the Australian Center of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function, the Japanese Brain/MINDS project, Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform, the Cell Census Network (US BRAIN initiative), the EU Human Brain Project’s Neuroinformatics and Medical Informatics Platforms, the European Bioimaging Research Infrastructure, CENTER-TBI (EU’s Collaborative European Neurotrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI), CREACTIVE (EU’s Collaborative Research on Acute Traumatic Brain Injury in Intensive Care), started off the meeting by presenting the goals, scope, data types included, interoperability opportunities, and challenges with the different projects. INCF supports the implementation of the FAIR (Findable Accessible Interoperable Reproducible) principles, which were also presented in the context of these projects.

The presentations were followed by discussions on data sharing, infrastructure, and governance needs. An inventory matrix focussed on the representative project’s systems and data emerged, and a set of recommendations for future actions were determined. These recommendations include:
• Establishing a working group on quality control and data curation
• Extending the work of the INCF funded working group on neuroimaging IDs to develop FAIR PIDs (permanent identifiers)
for neuroscience
• Establish a working group that will extend the matrix of global neuroscience projects begun during the Summit
• Host a series of workshops throughout 2018 - 2019 that will serve as a forum for the large scale brain projects to engage,
share experiences, and work towards interoperability
• A white paper on FAIR and GDPR and other regulatory environments around the world

“The INCF Brain Summit laid a great foundation for the process of bringing together the world’s large-scale projects. We made very useful progress, beginning a survey across the projects and forming working groups to take this initiative forward. We look forward to continuing to participate.” - Professor Jan Bjaalie, University of Oslo, Leader, HBP Neuroinformatics Platform

“The Canadian Open Neuroscience Platform (CONP) is a major new pan-Canadian initiative and we were delighted to participate in the INCF Brain Summit. In typical INCF style, we discussed the concrete matters of how to align the world’s large-scale initiatives with a view to systems and data interoperability. Very good progress was made and we’re eager to make further contributions to this initiative.” - Professor Jean-Baptiste Poline, Montreal Neurological Institute, Chair Technical Steering Committee, CONP

“Participation in INCF events such as the Brain Summit helps enable researchers in Japan’s Brain-MINDS project to interact with other projects around the globe. The Brain Summit was a very useful meeting where key participants from world’s major neuroscience projects discussed areas for international alignment, formed working groups and began an inventory. Productive collaborations were fostered and we are very positive about continuing to collaborate in this initiative.” - Professor Tetsuo Yamamori, Riken Brain Science Institute, Japan Brain-MINDS


The program for the Summit is available at incf.org/brain-summit-2018, and a full report be available in early autumn 2018. For questions about INCF, the Brain Summit, or the forthcoming report, please contact info@incf.org. INCF is an independent international organization which promotes the implementation of neuroinformatics and advances data reuse and reproducibility in brain research. INCF has 18 Governing and Associate Nodes spanning 4 continents, with an extensive network of organizations, individual researchers, industry, and publishers. The INCF Secretariat supports the Nodes with outreach, project  management, and administration of community-driven projects regarding neuroinformatics training and standards and best practices for data sharing, infrastructure, and interoperability solutions for neuroscience.

Project links