The International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF) was established in 2005 through the Global Science Forum of the Organisation of Economic Coordination and Development (OECD) in response to the need for an international informatics network to tackle the challenge of understanding the human brain and its function in health and disease. The complexity of the brain requires input from people across many different disciplines with many different methodologies to address brain function. The major goal of the INCF is to harness the computational tools existing in the physical and information sciences that are needed to develop structured neuroscience databases and to store, analyse and model the immense quantity of neuroscience data available at many different levels of analysis.
The INCF addresses specific neuroinformatics issues that require international cooperation. One important mode of operation is through establishing focussed Programs. Following an initial stage of consultation, workshops of experts establish the specific questions to be addressed, from which a set of actions follows. These are then initiated, or facilitated, as appropriate in co-operation with the National Nodes of the member countries. Currently, Programs exist for
- Digital Brain Atlasing A program to enhance the interoperability, accessibility and sharing of spatial datasets in neuroscience through the creation of INCF-sponsored standards;
- Ontologies of Neural Structures A program to develop a common framework of ontologies to enable data sharing and the reuse of data within and across disciplines;
- Multi-scale Modelling A program to enable the integration of computer models of the brain developed by different research groups in order to help the efficient sharing and reuse of modelling software. Special emphasis is placed on models requiring significant computing power;
- Standards for Datasharing A program to develop generic standards and tools to facilitate the recording, sharing, and reporting of metadata. It is expected that these efforts will greatly improve upon current practices for archiving and sharing neuroscience data;
- Teaching and Training Recently, the INCF has set up a training initiative to establish best practices in neuroinformatics training at the international level.
The INCF has a dedicated Youtube channel which it uses to feature videos and presentations made of their activities. Please click here to visit the INCF channel.