By Meryem Yücel and David Boas
Now that fNIRS has established the SNIRF file format for fNIRS data and this has been incorporated into the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS) standard for the organization of neuroimaging datasets, we the fNIRS community should endeavor to broadly adopt this data set organization specification. The full specification is accessible directly at https://bids.neuroimaging.io/ and also through https://openneuro.org.
BIDS goes beyond the SNIRF specification by providing a structure of how subjects and sessions should be organized within a data set and the associated required meta-data text files that describe the dataset. To facilitate users in organizing their SNIRF files into a BIDS compliant data set, the https://openfnirs.org group has created a cloud based server with support from a supplement to NIH BRAIN Initiative grant U01EB029856. The server is designed to ingest SNIRF files, that the user organizes into subject (and optional session) folders, and then the server will generate all of the meta-data text files that it can from the meta data within the SNIRF file. The server then alerts the user to missing meta data that is required to make the data set BIDS compliant. We are in advanced beta testing mode and invite users to help us with testing. Please email David Boas (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to test and utilize the bfnirs cloud server. Note that only researchers with investigator status at their institution (for example, faculty or principal investigators) can be an owner of a dataset and that they can only upload non-identifiable data to the server for which they have permission to upload. Data set owners can then invite any other users to have read, write, or admin privileges for that data set. Once a data set is published, the owner is then encouraged to make the data set public by making it world readable on the bfnirs server as well as pushing it to the https://openneuro.org data base of open BIDS data sets.