Mission and activities of the INCF Electrophysiology Data Sharing Task Force
Friedrich Sommer (UC Berkeley), Thomas Wachtler (LMU Munich), Andrew Davison (CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette), Michael Denker (INM-6, Research Center Jülich), Jeffrey Grethe (UCSD), Sonja Grün (INM-6. Jülich), Kenneth Harris (Imperial College London), Colin Ingram (University of Newcastle), Marja-Leena Linne (Tampere Institute of Technology), Bengt Ljungquist (Lund University), John Miller (Montana State University), Roman Mouček (Univ. of West Bohemia, Pilsen), Hyrum Sessions (Blackrock Microsystems), Gordon Shepherd (Yale), Leslie Smith (University of Stirling, Scotland), Jeff Teeters (UC Berkeley), Shiro Usui (RIKEN Brain Science Institute)
Metadata. A number of areas in bioscience have developed minimal metadata standards that have been adopted both by database curators and publishers. Our aim is to examine the issues around developing metadata standards for neurophysiology, including methods for efficient acquisition, description of stimuli and neural data, formats, and interoperability. Some of the current systems considered are: CARMEN's MINI http://www.carmen.org.uk/standards, YOGO http://yogo.msu.montana.edu , odML http://www.g-node.org/projects/odml , and neurolex http://neurolex.org.
Data formats. The large variety of data formats in electrophysiology poses great challenges to efficient data sharing. The task force has set up a web page on tools for reading and converting between formats http://datasharing.incf.org/ep/Converters and, in order to develop unifying standards, is examining techniques used by a variety of systems, including Neuroshare http://neuroshare.org , NDF http://www.carmen.org.uk/standards/CarmenDataSpecs.pdf , MIEN http://mien.msu.montana.edu/ , NEO http://packages.python.org/neo/ , and OMNI http://code.google.com/p/incf-omni/ .
Publisher statements. The task force is collecting information about existing policies at publishers and funding agencies regarding requirements that data be made available and will coordinate with the INCF neuroimaging task force to form recommendations.
Data set identifiers. The task force has discussed systems of persistent identifiers for data that would allow shared data to be referenced in standardized ways. Two are DOIs using datacite, and Life Science Identifiers, which are used by the CARMEN project.