On March 3rd 2015, European Research Ministers met and reiterated their willingness for open science. Further to this event, DG CONNECT organized on the next day a workshop on “Open Data on e-infrastructure and services for Neuroscience”. This was motivated by the fact that the European Commission believes that Neuroscience is a particularly active field of research, whose needs and challenges in terms of data sharing must be addressed.
The goals pursued by this workshop were to:
  • Discuss the needs of the Neuroscience communities regarding data sharing and management and explore challenges and complexities associated to it
  • Explore issues related to open data access
  • Match with pertinent e-infrastructure that can be enhanced to support Neuroscience
  • To share best practices on data management policies
In this respect, the Human Brain Project (HBP) perspective was introduced to the participants.
The HBP is a 10 year initiative willing to trigger collaborative effort to better understand the human brain, as this organ not only underlines who we are, but is also at the core of many diseases that affect who we are.
Data generated in Neuroscience is extremely diverse, and even more data is to be generated thanks to the works of the HBP. Yet, one of the main challenges this project has to face lies in the actual use of infrastructures designed for data collection, as the availability and full implementation of such platforms hold the key of HBP’s success. ‘Neuroinformatics platforms’ provide a solution to federate data in a universal way, and should enable an integrated view of the Neuroscience data. To succeed, communities have to be brought together, and both users – namely Neuroscientists – and developers have to be involved in the design of these infrastructures.

However, Minno Witter, from the Federation of all European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) expressed how hard it is to convince older Neuroscientists to see the benefits of e-infrastructures and large database management, to allow other communities to re-use those. In this respect, education towards scientists had a major role to play, to make them understand the stakes and benefits of such practices.