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friday :: october 17, 2003
neuroscience networks: data-sharing in an information age

To study the brain from molecules to behaviour, neuroscientists face the challenge of communicating an emerging wealth of information in coherent accessible forms.

The completion of the human genome project has ushered in a new era in which biology has become an information science. In this new era, sharing of information is quickly becoming a critical aspect of scientific discovery. As directors of National Institutes of Health (NIH) institutes dedicated to neuroscience, we recognize several areas of research where sharing of primary data will be necessary for us to reach our scientific goals, including brain-mapping, genetics, and clinical trials. Progress in each of these areas will require not only new tools for sharing information but a change in our scientific culture...

While there are several initiatives at NIH aimed at overcoming the informatics barriers to sharing data and facilitating collaboration, coordination, and computation, we recognize that not all of the impediments to data-sharing are technical. The advent of neurobiology as an information science also demonstrates that the academic culture in which our science develops and the publication culture in which our science is communicated will need to change... the nature of publication itself needs to change in an era when some of the most important contributions will emerge from comprehensive descriptions of new landscapes (analogous to new genomes and new galaxies) rather than tests of specific hypotheses...

Scientific publication, as we have known it in print, is slow and expensive, with access limited to those with either the funds to purchase an individual subscription or the proximity to a library with an institutional subscription. Data-sharing also means open-access publishing so that data, whether from mapping efforts or from hypothesis-driven experiments, become available quickly and freely to the scientific community. As we emerge from the 'decade of the brain,' we are entering a decade for which data-sharing will be the currency for progress in neuroscience. Efforts driven by collaboration, coordination, and computation should yield the data, tools, and resources that neuroscientists will need in the coming decades. We hope that new electronic publications with open access will accelerate this change and provide the vehicle for disseminating the most exciting discoveries in neuroscience in a rapid, respected, and ready format. >from *Neuroscience Networks: Data-sharing in an Information Age by Thomas R Insel, Nora D Volkow, Ting-Kai Li, James F Battey, Story C Landis*. PLoS Biology, Volume 1, Issue 1, October, 2003.

related context
human brain project.
> why PLoS became a publisher. october 13, 2003
> free science journal hits press. new journal challenges pay-per-view science. october 10, 2003
> an economic analysis of scientific research publishing. a report commissioned by the wellcome trust. january, 2003/ revised edition, october, 2003
> science commons: building a free flow of knowledge. march 15, 2002
> public library of science journals: a new model for scientific publishing. september 10, 2001

crimp old fences to open-access landscapes

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