Scanning the horizon: towards transparent and reproducible neuroimaging research

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017 Feb;18(2):115-126. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.167. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


Functional neuroimaging techniques have transformed our ability to probe the neurobiological basis of behaviour and are increasingly being applied by the wider neuroscience community. However, concerns have recently been raised that the conclusions that are drawn from some human neuroimaging studies are either spurious or not generalizable. Problems such as low statistical power, flexibility in data analysis, software errors and a lack of direct replication apply to many fields, but perhaps particularly to functional MRI. Here, we discuss these problems, outline current and suggested best practices, and describe how we think the field should evolve to produce the most meaningful and reliable answers to neuroscientific questions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Functional Neuroimaging / standards*
  • Functional Neuroimaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Functional Neuroimaging / trends
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Software / standards
  • Statistics as Topic