World's first completely open- and crowd-sourced neuroscience experiment launched

Today, scientists from the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics, a division of the Allen Institute, launched the world's first completely open- and crowd-sourced neuroscience experiment-;inviting researchers from around the world to publicly design a shared experiment that will run on the Allen Brain Observatory, as part of the Institute's OpenScope program. Experiments will probe the dynamic functions of the brain and how cells interact and communicate to produce thoughts and actions and shed light on how we make complex decisions.

Typically, experimental design is highly confidential information. Here, everything will be done in the open from project design to data collection. We are charting new territory and pushing open science to its logical conclusion."

Jérôme Lecoq, Ph.D., Associate Investigator, Allen Institute

Any scientist is now able to join the public forum ( and suggest research questions and experimental methods to be discussed amongst the community. The community will then vote to select one OpenScope project to be conducted by the Allen Institute. Every phase of design, implementation, and data output will be completely open.

The goal is to maximize impact by turning to the combined talent and insight of the broader international neuroscience community. The experiment that is chosen by the community will use two-photon imaging in behavioral tasks, as part of the OpenScope program's Allen Brain Observatory, to shed light into how the brain operates.

Launched five years ago, OpenScope was inspired by shared astronomical observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope where outside researchers can conduct cutting edge experiments too expensive for individual labs using NASA's powerful tools and technology. Likewise, OpenScope aims to bring the large-scale standardization of the Allen Institute's neuroscience platforms to scientists around the world.

The online conversation will run from July to September, and online events will be held to guide this process and design various components of the experiment. Scientists can still apply to the double-blinded, standard OpenScope RFP where their proposals are kept confidential.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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