Databasing the brain

Workshop - Oslo, June 25 – 27, 2006

Jan G. Bjaalie and Erik De Schutter

Advisory committee:
Gary Egan, Sten Grillner, Gordon Shepherd, Shankar Subramaniam, and David Willshaw

New technological opportunities for data sharing have gradually emerged with gradually faster networks, improved database technologies, and affordable massive data storage capabilities. The field of bioinformatics has exploited these opportunities for essential aspects of data sharing. But databases are used only sparingly in the neurosciences. Hence, there is a potential for more data sharing, re-use of data, and novel analysis based on new combinations of data that can be performed via database systems.

The overall objective of the present workshop will be to accelerate existing research and development efforts in the field of neuroscience databasing. The workshop will monitor recent developments, identify challenges in making databases interoperable, and discuss community interactions in the field. Two specific areas have been selected for a detailed study: First, the workshop will focus on standardised data formats and annotations of data at the level of the laboratory work bench. It will explore how the industry (companies producing software and equipment for data acquisition, storage, and data management) can help establish data and metadata formats via interactions with the scientific communities. Second, the workshop will focus on the role of journals in providing information about databasing initiatives, in encouraging scientists to share persistent data via databases, and in possibly contributing to novel publication formats.

The workshop will bring together scientists in the field of brain databasing, neuroscientists, representatives of SMEs, as well as journal editors and other representatives of journals.