Data Citation in Neuroimaging: Proposed Best Practices for Data Identification and Attribution

Front Neuroinform. 2016 Aug 12;10:34. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2016.00034. eCollection 2016.


Data sharing and reuse, while widely accepted as good ideas, have been slow to catch on in any concrete and consistent way. One major hurdle within the scientific community has been the lack of widely accepted standards for citing that data, making it difficult to track usage and measure impact. Within the neuroimaging community, there is a need for a way to not only clearly identify and cite datasets, but also to derive new aggregate sets from multiple sources while clearly maintaining lines of attribution. This work presents a functional prototype of a system to integrate Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) and a standardized metadata schema into a XNAT-based repository workflow, allowing for identification of data at both the project and image level. These item and source level identifiers allow any newly defined combination of images, from any number of projects, to be tagged with a new group-level DOI that automatically inherits the individual attributes and provenance information of its constituent parts. This system enables the tracking of data reuse down to the level of individual images. The implementation of this type of data identification system would impact researchers and data creators, data hosting facilities, and data publishers, but the benefit of having widely accepted standards for data identification and attribution would go far toward making data citation practical and advantageous.

Keywords: credit; data attribution; data citation; data repository; data sharing.