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Standards and best practices

Standards and Best Practices (SBPs)

The mission of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF), is to serve as a standard organization promoting neuroscience community developed standards and best practices that are open and FAIR. INCF encourages the development of the community standards through special interest groups (SIGs) and working groups, supported by online as well as in-person courses and workshops.

We are further developing our aim to promote the neuroinformatics field and advance data reuse and reproducibility in brain research by implementing a process for endorsement of community standards and best practices (SBPs) for neuroscience.

The endorsement process includes a community review and is overseen by a committee appointed by the Council for Training, Science, and Infrastructure (CTSI). Endorsed SBPs will be made available on and promoted to the community, to journals, and to funders through INCF’s training and outreach efforts.

INCF definition of a standard
A standard needs to have a clear specification that enables implementations according to and interoperable with the standard. In addition, a standard should have a reference implementation, however, importantly, the implementation is not the standard. Rather, the standard should be defined independently of an implementation. For that reason, software frameworks as such are not considered suitable for endorsement by INCF.


Standards and best practices make neuroscience a data-centric discipline and are key for integrating diverse data and for developing a robust, effective and sustainable infrastructure to support open and reproducible neuroscience. 

Find a standard or best practice


INCF serves as a standards organization dedicated to open and FAIR neuroscience by vetting, endorsing, and promoting the use of community standards and best practices.


Submit a standard or best practice


In our Working Groups, users and developers work collaboratively to develop  community standards and best practices and implement them in tools and resources.


Learn more


The INCF network serves as a forum to collaboratively coordinate global neuroinformatics activities that guide and oversee the development of standards and best practices based on community needs.

Recommend an area in need of standardization

What is FAIR?

The FAIR principles are a set of community-developed guidelines to ensure that data or any digital object are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. The FAIR principles specifically emphasize enhancing the ability of machines to automatically find and use data or any digital object, and support its reuse by individuals. Standards for the description, interoperability, citation etc. are at the core of these principles.