The Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health (DMCBH) is pleased to officially become an Open Science Institute. Through a partnership with The Neuro’s Tanenbaum Open Science Institute (TOSI), the Centre has adopted a set of Open Science principles for collaboration and sharing research findings.

As part of this agreement, the Centre commits to publicly releasing research data, methods and results, while minimizing the use of restrictive intellectual property protection, in order to accelerate the rate of scientific and medical discoveries.

This is the third TOSI partnership of its kind, following the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary and the Douglas Research Centre at McGill University.

The Centre’s Open Science Initiative was spearheaded by Dr. Paul Pavlidis, a DMCBH member and professor in UBC’s Department of Psychiatry, with a grant from TOSI in September 2021 that helped create a set of Open Science principles. Over the past year, the Centre has initiated various Open Science activities, including a seminar series, a town hall and a patent study led by Dr. Judy Illes, DMCBH researcher and UBC Distinguished Professor in Neuroethics.

“We are pleased that our neuroscience community is so supportive of Open Science,” says Dr. Pavlidis.  “The commitment by the Centre to an open approach to research and innovation will help accelerate new discoveries in neuroscience and beyond.”

Open Science practices have long been a part of the Djavad Mowafaghian for Brain Health’s activities. Developing infrastructure and initiatives that promote Open Science and data sharing is part of the Centre’s strategic plan, and is an important part of advancing the future of neuroscience.

One of the Centre’s key research priorities is neuroinformatics, which involves the development and application of computational and statistical methods, databases and models for the study of the nervous system. With the advancement of new technologies comes vast amounts of information, resulting in the need to find ways to store, share and analyze data.

To encourage collaboration and data sharing, Databinge is an online platform that was created by DMCBH member Dr. Tim Murphy’s team at the Dynamic Brain Circuits Cluster. It aims to tackle coding challenges and new approaches to data analysis while promoting Open Science and Research Data Management Practices.

“Philosophically, Open Science resonates with our students and Databinge ensures that peer-to-peer supports are in place to foster collaborative adoption of Open Science practices,” says Jeff LeDue, Dynamic Brain Circuits Cluster Coordinator and the DMCBH’s NeuroImaging and NeuroComputation Centre (NINC) Managing Director.

Thanks to a Data Champions Pilot Project grant from the Digital Research Alliance of Canada, Databinge expanded beyond the Centre in 2022, creating a distributed, multi-site, student and peer-driven network of data champions at Vancouver General Hospital’s ICORD spinal cord injury research centre, the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the University of Victoria.

“Collaboration is a key to Open Science and is at the heart of our work at the Centre,” says Dr. Lynn Raymond, Director of the DMCBH. “The Centre is uniquely positioned with both scientists and clinicians working together to improve health outcomes for patients with neurological and mental health disorders.”

With its diverse membership, the Centre fosters cross-disciplinary collaborations with its five integrated research programs that span across foundational and clinical disciplines.

“It is really amazing to see the momentum building for Open Science across Canada and globally. The movement is bringing together Canadian neuroscience research, from east to west, so we can work together to understand the brain and develop treatments,” says Dr. Guy Rouleau, TOSI Co-Founder and Director of the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital. “I am extremely pleased that the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health has decided to join TOSI, The Neuro, and our other institute partners to create the future of brain research.”