Data sharing is a practice that has revolutionized biology and health sciences. The fast growing open databases gathering data on neurological and psychiatric diseases obtained at different scales of brain organization – from genetics to brain imaging and clinical data – help researchers to understand the anatomo-functional structure of the brain. The main challenge is to integrate theses multi-scale knowledge, by gathering cognitive, topographical, and genetic knowledge in a systematic way and a common framework to facilitate their visualization, comparison, and integration. In this work, we show that the anonymity of patients was respected within these shared databases and the studies based on these open data produced new relevant results and interdisciplinary tools. The economical costs of the studies was also reduced. To illustrate this, we will detail the relevance of the linkRbrain platform  that we have developed to better understand brain functions and diseases thanks to the new available open databases. This platform collects the information originating from several databases and integrates this information into a common brain representation. So, linkRbrain gives brain images and related graphs that synthesize current available information on brain activity, genetic expression and behavioural and cognitive functions. This new integrative tool is available to the whole community, through a free collaborative site.
Photos by : Derek K. Miller