Members of the International Brain Initiative (IBI) and other experts in data science and neuroscience have met in Tokyo, Japan, for the first in-person meeting of the Data Standards and Sharing Working Group.
The Japan meeting was hosted by Japan Brain/MINDS, Brain/MINDS Beyond, and The Kavli Foundation, with additional sponsorship from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). Local host Kenji Doya, along with Takashi Hankawa and Keiji Tanaka, welcomed attendees to the Roundtable and identified the 3 aims of the meeting:
- To understand the goals and the data management plans of the different brain initiatives.
- To define common interest, overlapping needs, and possible domains of cooperation.
- To determine short- to long-term action plans and future working group management structure.
Day 1 included presentations from each of the 7 major brain initiatives that are part of the IBI, focusing on their data-related activities. This was followed by a panel discussion where experts from genomics, systems biology and other fields were invited to share their experiences at promoting effective data sharing. The day concluded with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in neurobiology data sharing, focusing on the varied data sets (both anatomical and physiological) collect by a large variety of methods in many different species.
Day 2 discussions began with a discussion on the challenges and opportunities in human brain data sharing, focusing on how to promote discovery while addressing privacy and ethical concerns. The highlight of the meeting was the Project Development Exercise on day 2, where attendees submitted and discussed their suggestions for deliverables of the Data Standards and Sharing Working Group. As many as 28 proposals were received covering different aspects of research data, including cataloguing, schema, reusage, guidance, training, and infrastructure. The following 3 ideas gained remarkable support as high-priority activities of the working group:
- A white paper or opinion piece proposing alignment or governance for best international data practices, with a focused discussion on the use of data in research and protections.
- Different forms of cataloguing, with resonance around the Knowledge Graph idea
- Collection and creating of hackathons and other training events, with specific attention to datasets generated by the brain initiatives
The meeting ended with plans to continue discussions virtually, focusing on identification of working group leadership and the creation of subgroups corresponding to the above 3 high-priority activities. The next in-person gathering is expected to take place in the Fall of 2020.