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Research Manager of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA), Dr Kristan Kang, and Leader of CHeBA’s Neuroimaging Group Associate Professor Wei Wen have been awarded $14,000 to prepare over 4000 brain images collected over more than a decade for publishing.
The funding, awarded by the UNSW eResearch Committee under the UNSW High Value Data Collections Publishing Scheme, will allow CHeBA’s research data to be more available for use by the wider scientific community.
Dr Kang explains that brain scans are expensive to collect and of great value to health, ageing, biomedical and engineering projects.
“Brain scan data is especially powerful when paired with the extensive clinical data we have collected from our participants and already publish."
“The collections they form allow for the assessment of things like biomarkers and brain changes during ageing, including the progression into dementia and other neurological disorders with significant health economic impact," said Dr Kang.
Associate Professor Wei Wen, Leader of CHeBA’s Neuroimaging Laboratory, says that the brain scans can also be used in the assessment of new bioengineering methodologies.
Consequently, these brain scans are high value "raw" data files which can be re-processed using new analytical techniques as they become available to answer new research questions.
Publishing the images involves a careful and laborious process of removing any information which can identify a research participant so it can then be used by the scientific community without any risk to the anonymity of our volunteers. The collections are then listed on specialist research networks to promote awareness of their existence and invite potential collaborators.
Data publishing has become an expectation of Government funding bodies in order to maximise the investment made into publicly funded research and allow new opportunities for collaboration between experts around the world to address a wider range of scientific enquiry.