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INCF Standards and Best Practices portfolio

The Standards and Best Practices portfolio contains all community standards endorsed by the INCF using the criteria developed by the INCF Standards and Best Practices Committee, as well as community standards in the process of being endorsed.

The purpose of this portfolio is to provide the community with an index of robust, well-validated standards and best practices that adhere and support the FAIR principles. The portfolio provides the community with descriptions of appropriate use cases, links to tools/infrastructures, and tutorials for each standard and best practice indexed. Users can search the portfolio by data type, format, or subdomain of neuroscience. By offering this service, we hope to increase the discoverability and use of standards and best practices that support open and FAIR neuroscience.

SBPs Submitted
SBPs Under review
SBPs Endorsed


SWC files (file extension of .swc) are text-based (ASCII text) files that describe three-dimensional neuronal or glial morphology. These digital reconstructions represent morphology as a vectorized tree structure, made of a series of connected… Read more


NetPyNE is an open-source Python package designed for the development, simulation, and analysis of biological neuronal networks. Built on top of the widely used NEURON simulator, NetPyNE is a high-level interface for creating, managing, and… Read more

The SPARC data structure is a consistent file structure and naming convention, based on the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) to ensure that the diverse types of data in SPARC is organized in a similar manner. Read more
Neo is an object model for handling electrophysiology data in multiple formats. It is suitable for representing data acquired from electroencephalographic, intracellular, or extracellular recordings, or generated from simulations. Neo has been… Read more
The neuromorphological file format balances structure with flexibility by storing each modeled object as a unique data element and providing mechanisms for grouping any number and type of data elements. File-level metadata is retained to provide… Read more

The Five Recommendations for FAIR Software aim to encourage the greater adoption of FAIR principles by providing a set of starting recommendations that researchers can use to improve the quality, reach, and reproducibility of their software.The… Read more

Neuroscience information exchange format (NIX) data model allows storing fully annotated scientific datasets, i.e. the data together with rich metadata and their relations in a consistent, comprehensive format. Its aim is to achieve standardization… Read more
Neurodata Without Borders (NWB) is a data standard for neurophysiology, providing neuroscientists with a common standard to share, archive, use, and build analysis tools for neurophysiology data. NWB is designed to store a variety of neurophysiology… Read more
NeuroML is a simulator-independent, XML-based standardized model description language for computational neuroscience that provides a common data format for defining and exchanging descriptions of neuronal cell and network models. NeuroML focuses on… Read more
The Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) is a standard prescribing a formal way to name and organize MRI data and metadata in a file system that simplifies communication and collaboration between users and enables easier data validation and software… Read more
RRID: SCR_002715
PyNN is a simulator-independent language for building neuronal network models. The PyNN API aims to support modelling at a high-level of abstraction (populations of neurons, layers, columns and the connections between them) while still allowing… Read more
The Data Acquisition, Quality and Curation for Observational Research Designs (DAQCORD) Guidelines are the first comprehensive set of data quality indicators for large, clinical observational studies. They were developed around the needs of… Read more


The Essential Metadata for 3D BRAIN Microscopy metadata standard (now referred to as 3D Microscopy Metadata Standards or 3D-MMS) helps ensure that a 3D microscopy dataset is sufficiently described to support its re-use by… Read more

NeuroImaging Data Model (NIDM)-Results provides a representation of mass univariate neuroimaging analysis results, unified across analysis software packages. Implementation of NIDM-Results within FSL and SPM, two of the main neuroimaging software… Read more
Hierarchical Event Descriptors (HED) is an open standard and supporting ecosystem for describing experimental events, conditions, and experiment organization in a format that is both human- and machine-readable to enable analysis, re-analysis, and… Read more
The RRID is a Persistent Unique Identifier assigned to help researchers cite key resources (antibodies, model organisms, and software projects) in the biomedical literature to improve transparency of research methods. They are machine readable, free… Read more
The purpose of this best practice is to elaborate the principles of open and reproducible research for neuroimaging using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). It covers: 1. experimental design reporting, 2. image acquisition reporting, 3. preprocessing… Read more
The MDAR framework establishes a minimum set of requirements in transparent reporting applicable to studies in the life sciences. The MDAR checklist is a tool for authors, editors and others seeking to adopt the MDAR framework for transparent… Read more
Open metadata markup language (odML) is a format for storing metadata in an organised human- and machine-readable way. It does not constrain the metadata content, while providing a common schema (with implementations in XML, JSON, YAML) to integrate… Read more