The Brain Imaging Data Structure, a Format for Organizing and Describing Outputs of Neuroimaging Experiments

Krzysztof J. Gorgolewski, Stanford University
Tibor Auer, Medical Research Council
Vince D. Calhoun, University of New Mexico
R. Cameron Craddock, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
Samir Das, McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
Eugene P. Duff, University of Oxford
Guillaume Flandin, University College London
Satrajit S. Ghosh, Harvard University
Tristan Glatard, McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
Yaroslav O. Halchenko, Dartmouth College


The development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques has defined modern neuroimaging. Since its inception, tens of thousands of studies using techniques such as functional MRI and diffusion weighted imaging have allowed for the non-invasive study of the brain. Despite the fact that MRI is routinely used to obtain data for neuroscience research, there has been no widely adopted standard for organizing and describing the data collected in an imaging experiment. This renders sharing and reusing data (within or between labs) difficult if not impossible and unnecessarily complicates the application of automatic pipelines and quality assurance protocols. To solve this problem, we have developed the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS), a standard for organizing and describing MRI datasets. The BIDS standard uses file formats compatible with existing software, unifies the majority of practices already common in the field, and captures the metadata necessary for most common data processing operations.