Experimental Pipeline (Expipe): A Lightweight Data Management Platform to Simplify the Steps From Experiment to Data Analysis

Front Neuroinform. 2020 Jul 24;14:30. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2020.00030. eCollection 2020.

Abstract

As experimental neuroscience is moving toward more integrative approaches, with a variety of acquisition techniques covering multiple spatiotemporal scales, data management is becoming increasingly challenging for neuroscience laboratories. Often, datasets are too large to practically be stored on a laptop or a workstation. The ability to query metadata collections without retrieving complete datasets is therefore critical to efficiently perform new analyses and explore the data. At the same time, new experimental paradigms lead to constantly changing specifications for the metadata to be stored. Despite this, there is currently a serious lack of agile software tools for data management in neuroscience laboratories. To meet this need, we have developed Expipe, a lightweight data management framework that simplifies the steps from experiment to data analysis. Expipe provides the functionality to store and organize experimental data and metadata for easy retrieval in exploration and analysis throughout the experimental pipeline. It is flexible in terms of defining the metadata to store and aims to solve the storage and retrieval challenges of data/metadata due to ever changing experimental pipelines. Due to its simplicity and lightweight design, we envision Expipe as an easy-to-use data management solution for experimental laboratories, that can improve provenance, reproducibility, and sharing of scientific projects.

Keywords: Python (programming language); analysis; data base (DB); data management; data sharing; open source software (OSS).