Lessons learned: A neuroimaging research center's transition to open and reproducible science

Front Big Data. 2022 Aug 29:5:988084. doi: 10.3389/fdata.2022.988084. eCollection 2022.


Human functional neuroimaging has evolved dramatically in recent years, driven by increased technical complexity and emerging evidence that functional neuroimaging findings are not generally reproducible. In response to these trends, neuroimaging scientists have developed principles, practices, and tools to both manage this complexity as well as to enhance the rigor and reproducibility of neuroimaging science. We group these best practices under four categories: experiment pre-registration, FAIR data principles, reproducible neuroimaging analyses, and open science. While there is growing recognition of the need to implement these best practices there exists little practical guidance of how to accomplish this goal. In this work, we describe lessons learned from efforts to adopt these best practices within the Brain Imaging Research Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences over 4 years (July 2018-May 2022). We provide a brief summary of the four categories of best practices. We then describe our center's scientific workflow (from hypothesis formulation to result reporting) and detail how each element of this workflow maps onto these four categories. We also provide specific examples of practices or tools that support this mapping process. Finally, we offer a roadmap for the stepwise adoption of these practices, providing recommendations of why and what to do as well as a summary of cost-benefit tradeoffs for each step of the transition.

Keywords: FAIR; neuroimaging; open science; preregistration; reproducible neuroimaging; transition.