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Best practices for fNIRS publications

By Meryem Yücel

The rapid growth that we currently witness in the fNIRS research field resulted in a great diversity in methodological practices, data preprocessing and statistical analyses. Inconsistencies appearing in the way in which methods are presented, though, make the interpretation and replication of studies challenging. The recent “Neuroimaging Analysis Replication and Prediction Study”, a systematic comparison of statistical results

obtained from the same fMRI dataset by 70 different groups, shows that different data analysis pipelines can have substantial effects on scientific conclusions we draw (Botvinik-Nezer et al., 2020, Nature), and thus further highlights the importance of properly reporting the details of the study and the data analysis methods. With this motivation, the Society for Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy has organized a representative group of fNIRS researchers to build a consensus on the best practices for reporting an fNIRS study. The best practices paper provides guidelines to help increase the reproducibility, reliability and traceability of our work through presenting our methods and findings in a comprehensive and transparent way. The paper also provides a checklist to guide authors in the preparation of their manuscripts and to assist reviewers when evaluating fNIRS papers. We do hope that it serves the fNIRS community well!