"The fMRI Data Center was created with sharing information in mind," says John Van Horn, the lead author on the paper and a Research Associate Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "We wanted to advance and expand the cognitive neuroscience field by making the raw data accessible to more people for free."
According to the essay, the faculty who created the fMRI Data Center in 2000 were met with initial resistance from fellow neuroscientists. Some researchers were hesitant to give away their data; some questioned whether new science could arise from old data; and others thought that the technical hurdles could not be overcome. Despite these concerns, the Dartmouth group went ahead and teamed up with the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and made it a requirement to include raw fMRI data when submitting research to the publication. With initial support from the National Science Foundation, the W.M. Keck Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, the computer equipment was purchased and fMRI Data Center was established.
Now, four years later, the fMRI Data Center has archived more than 70 complete fMRI studies, which includes data from about 1,000 individuals. Van Horn and his colleagues have fulfilled, at no charge, more than 1,200 requests for data from researchers around the world. The overall size of their collection is about 2.6 terabytes (for comparison, about ten terabytes could hold the entire printed collect
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