A marathon, not a sprint –neuroimaging, Open Science and ethics

by Michael J.S. Beauvais, Bartha Maria Knoppers, and Judy Illes.


Open Science is calling for a radical re-thinking of existing scientific practices. Within the neuroimaging community, Open Science practices are taking the form of open data repositories and open lab notebooks. The broad sharing of data that accompanies Open Science, however, raises some difficult ethical and legal issues. With neuroethics as a focusing lens, we explore eight central concerns posed by open data with regard to human brain imaging studies: respect for individuals and communities, concern for marginalized communities, consent, privacy protections, participatory research designs, contextual integrity, fusions of clinical and research goals, and incidental findings. Each consideration assists in bringing nuance to the potential benefits for open data sharing against associated challenges. We combine current understandings with forward-looking solutions to key issues. We conclude by underscoring the need for new policy tools to enhance the potential for responsible open data.