The Australian Brain Alliance is working toward establishing the Australian Brain Data Commons (ABDC), a coordinated and internationally-compatible national brain science data framework. In this dispatch, Professor Jason Mattingley, Co-Chair of the Australian Brain Alliance, provides an update on the ABDC, including the recent launch of a pilot project to enable the sharing and analysis of electrophysiology data.
The Australian Brain Data Commons (ABDC) is a Working Group established by the Australian Brain Alliance with funding from the Australian Research Data Commons to coordinate platforms for the Australian neuroscience community to enable and promote widespread adoption of data sharing and standards. In late 2019 to 2020, the ABDC brought together representatives from a wide range of sub-disciplines of neuroscience to explore the barriers to data sharing and standards in the Australian neuroscience community and identify concrete ways to address these barriers.
During this first stage, the working group organised the data types into coherent thematic sub-groups to assess current data sharing platforms and standards within their thematic area, making recommendations on which platforms and standards should be adopted and adapted as part of an ABDC, and how current platforms and protocols need to be adapted to make them more widely accessible and interoperable, specifically using national research facilities/infrastructure.
The second stage, commenced in mid-2020, consists of the implementation of the agreed standards and platforms for a number of pilot projects designed to provide smooth interoperability with existing national and international platforms, and leveraging existing national computer and cloud storage solutions.
The first of these pilot projects, the Australian Electrophysiology Data Analysis Platform (AEDAPT), seeks to remove major barriers to greater interdisciplinary cross-talk and interoperability in the sharing and analysis of electrophysiology data (including scalp electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG) and implanted electrodes and electrode arrays (iEEG, ECoG) by creating a platform that adapts and extends international data standards and reproducible pipelines that have been developed for electrophysiology.
As Australia’s primary high-performance platform for analysis of electrophysiological data, AEDAPT will foster the creation of findable structured data and reproducible analysis pipelines and make state-of-the-art analysis tools highly accessible to researchers from diverse settings (regional universities/industry/clinical/labs without specialist technical staff). By making AEDAPT interoperable with other analysis platforms such as the Australian Imaging Service, the national Characterisation Virtual Laboratory, and BrainLife, AEDAPT will act as an enabling catalyst for scaling up of electrophysiology and multimodal neuroimaging research to the large national and international collaborative research projects addressing major challenges such as epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury and dementia.