Open-access databases in neurosciences: a review

Summary: Brain disorders encompass a broad and heterogeneous group of diseases affecting central and peripheral nervous systems at both structural and/or functional levels. Neurological and mental disorders are two major categories of brain disorders. Brain disorders are often associated with progressive clinical deterioration and significant disability. Also, due to high treatment costs and lost patient productivity brain disorders are considered a major public health problem. Thus, substantial financial resources have been allocated towards research studies aiming to elucidate underlying biological basis of brain disorders and improve patient outcomes. There is a growing worldwide push from societies, funding agencies and licensing authorities for researchers and research organizations to make their research data publicly available. It is anticipated that open access to research databases will allow to re-use already collected research data for generation of new research hypotheses and re-validation of research findings. Also, such approach is expected to facilitate interdisciplinary research collaboration and improve utilization of available research funds. However, numerous legal, ethical and cultural hurdles prevent for universal implementation of research data sharing culture. Researchers and research organization currently employ numerous methods of data sharing, including private data sharing between researchers, deposition of datasets in publicly available data repositories and publishing dataset papers in traditional peer-reviewed journals. There is a constantly increasing number of database journals, that consider papers describing datasets and require authors to deposit their research datasets in open access data repositories without any restrictions for re-use by third parties. It is expected that in the nearest future database journals will become an important data sharing avenue for researchers and research organizations. Advanced technological support, user- friendly interface and potential for improving of citation metrics are among important advantages for authors considering publishing their databases in dataset journals.

Keywords: open-access, biomedical datasets, dataset journals.

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