Brief Introduction to the German Node
within the International Neuroinformatics Coordination Facility

Despite the great success of neuroscience over the last decades, there is no doubt that we are far from understanding the human brain. This concerns all levels of neural processes – from the regulation of molecular pathways, the dynamics of single synapses, and the information processing of small neural networks to the orchestrated function of the entire brain. As new studies are initiated on the basis of current interpretations of available data, long-term progress in the neurosciences will crucially depend on the broad availability of high-quality data (including pre-processed data as well as the underlying raw data) and high-quality data-analysis tools. However, many of today's commercial recording tools are based on highly individual and proprietary data formats and come only with limited and typically closed-source software tools for data mining and analysis. This shortcoming severely complicates the access, storage, analysis and sharing of neuroscientific data and thus slows down the future development of brain research.

As a central element of the German Neuroinformatics Node (G-Node) within INCF, a novel software and hardware infrastructure is therefore developed that eases the acquisition, storage and analysis of experimental data. By directly addressing a key problem faced by a specific group of experimental and theoretical neuroscientists, the G-Node supports research in cellular and systems neurophysiology, encourages the standardization of data formats as well as analysis tools and facilitates the cooperation within and between different labs. To foster international cooperation, the project is carried out in close cooperation with the INCF secretariat and other INCF nodes. All tools developed within the G-Node are open source and freely available to the national and international community. Together, these measures help to incorporate the technological opportunities of global neuroinformatics into everyday neurophysiological routine and thus help establish a new scientific culture.

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