Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health issue exacting a substantial personal and economic burden globally. With the advent of "big data" approaches to understanding complex systems, there is the potential to greatly accelerate knowledge about mechanisms of injury and how to detect and modify them to improve patient outcomes. High quality, well-defined data are critical to the success of bioinformatics platforms, and a data dictionary of "common data elements" (CDEs), as well as "unique data elements" has been created for clinical TBI research. There is no data dictionary, however, for preclinical TBI research despite similar opportunities to accelerate knowledge. To address this gap, a committee of experts was tasked with creating a defined set of data elements to further collaboration across laboratories and enable the merging of data for meta-analysis. The CDEs were subdivided into a Core module for data elements relevant to most, if not all, studies, and Injury-Model-Specific modules for non-generalizable data elements. The purpose of this article is to provide both an overview of TBI models and the CDEs pertinent to these models to facilitate a common language for preclinical TBI research.
Keywords: common data elements; data dictionary; pre-clinical TBI models; traumatic brain injury.