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Recommendations for repositories and scientific gateways from a neuroscience perspective

11 January 2022

During 2021, the INCF Infrastructure Committee has focused on developing a set of recommendations and associated criteria for choosing or setting up and running a repository or scientific gateway, intended for the neuroscience community, with a FAIR neuroscience perspective. A manuscript giving the rationale for the recommendations has been submitted, and is now available as a preprint on arXiv. The underlying criteria take the form of a checklist which is available on the INCF portal.

The motivation for this work is that digital services such as repositories and science gateways have become key resources for the neuroscience community, but users often have a hard time orienting themselves in the service landscape to find the best fit for their particular needs. On the other hand, service developers lack authoritative guidance to develop their platforms. INCF wants to help neuroscience researchers and students choose good services for their specific use cases; we also want to help service providers make good and future-proof decisions for setup and operations. 

The committee is aiming for an inclusive set of recommendations that can apply to a wide and diverse range of digital services, both repositories and science gateways, for data as well as software. These recommendations have neurosciences as their primary use case but are often general. Considering the perspectives of researchers and providers of repositories as well as scientific gateways, the recommendations harmonize and complement existing work on criteria for repositories and best practices.

The recommendations are organized according to the following sections:

  • Discoverability and transparency in ownership & service usage statistics
  • Access & reuse conditions
  • Ethical requirements for authorship transparency and sensitive data
  • Best practices for licensing & responsibility
  • Accessibility and interoperability
  • Capabilities for reproducibility, replicability, reuse
  • Documentation & user support
  • Transparency in governance
  • Community in governance & decision making
  • Transparency on sustainability - financial & technical