Sharing of brain research can be aided by the Neuroimaging Data Model (NIDM). NIDM provides a community-based framework for developing data exchange standards that describe the primary observations, computational workflows, and derived results of neuroimaging studies. For example, a researcher sharing a statistical brain map could include with the brain map a data structure, “NIDM Results”, that contains complete information about the parameters used to generate the result, significant coordinate points in the brain map paired with test criteria, along with other meta-data exported from the software that generated it. This additional information cannot be represented in the brain map itself, and provides a complete description of the result that can be compared to other results, or used to reproduce it.
While work is underway to integrate NIDM into the software used by the human brain mapping community, only low-level tools are currently available to access and query NIDM documents that rely on a graph-based representation called the Resource Description Framework (RDF) . Further, technologies like RDF and the corresponding query language, SPARQL pose a steep learning curve for users of standard Web development workflows. With the recent migration of tools for neuroimaging meta analysis, sharing, and visualization into the Web browser, Web developers will be incentivized by the ability to easily integrate brain data into Web applications using familiar languages and formats. The goal of this Brainhack project was to develop infrastructure to serve NIDM documents and queries using an API with a syntax that allows for the easy development of Web-based tools for the neuroimaging community. These tools are publicly available on Github (RRID:SCR_002630) for the API and queries, along with complete documentation.
As an example of the type of Web applications that can be built with the NIDM API, the NIDM Results object model was recently integrated into the NeuroVault database, meaning that neuroimaging researchers can export results pertaining to statistical brain maps from common software into NeuroVault.
Read the peer-reviewed publication(s):