A Global View of Standards for Open Image Data Formats and Repositories

Biological and biomedical imaging datasets record the constitution, architecture and dynamics of living organisms across several orders of magnitude of space and time. Imaging technologies are now used throughout the life and biomedical sciences to achieve discovery and understanding of biological mechanisms in the basic sciences as well as assessment, diagnosis and therapeutic intervention in clinical trials and animal and human medicine. The universal application and use of imaging raises an important question and opportunity: what is the value and ultimate destination of biological and medical imaging data? In the last few years, several informatics and data science technologies have matured sufficiently so that routine publication of these datasets is now possible. Participants in Global BioImaging from 15 countries and all populated continents have agreed on the need for recommendations and guidelines for the establishment of image data repositories and the formats they use for delivering data to the global scientific community. This white paper presents a shared, global view of criteria for these common, globally applicable guidelines and provisional proposals for open tools and resources that are available now and can provide a foundation for future development.

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