July 14, 2016

TCG’s Data Sharing Initiative Used To Challenge Validity of 40,000 fMRI Studies

by Nina Preuss, Program Manager, Health Sciences 

TCG was contracted by the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research to design, implement, and maintain the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse (NITRC) in 2006. Since then, we’ve been at the bleeding edge of scientific research collaboration, data sharing, and cloud computing activities.

Recently, a study entitled “Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false‐positive rates“ published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) used resting‐state data from the NITRC Image Repository.  

A significant finding was that “the most common software packages for fMRI analysis…can result in false‐positive rates of up to 70%. These results question the validity of some 40,000 fMRI studies and may have a large impact on the interpretation of neuroimaging results.”  

The article noted that “This study would not be possible without the recent data‐sharing initiatives in the neuroimaging field. We therefore thank the Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse….” The NITRC team includes a wide range of academic collaborators, and is proud to know our work impacts how science is conducted and evaluated. Google Scholar tracks 3,190 citations for nitrc.org, with 788 using data like that acknowledged in this article. Now that’s Positively Distinct!