The aim of this website is to provide open access BCI data sets to the general public. We believe that such a collection of different data sets will increase scientific transparency and efficiency, promote the validation of published methods, and foster the development of new algorithms. In addition, publishing research data is becoming more important as public funding agencies are moving towards open research data requirements. For example, the European Commission has recently launched a pilot to open up publicly funded research data. All projects participating in this pilot are required to maintain a data management plan, which describes the specific measures to make data generated in the project publicly available.
The data sets can be downloaded here.
Publishing data collected from and about people (which includes BCI data) requires a few extra precautions that need to be taken into account. For starters, the privacy of all participants must be protected. This means that it must be impossible to trace the data back to an individual person (or sometimes even to a group of individuals). Therefore, such personal information must be anonymized before the corresponding data can be publicly released.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides guidelines on how to anonymize personal information. In particular, the following 18 identifiers must be removed:
- Geographic subdivision smaller than a state
- Dates except year (people above age 89 must be aggregated into a category of age 90 or older)
- Telephone numbers
- Fax numbers
- E-mail addresses
- Social security numbers
- Medical record numbers
- Health plan beneficiaries numbers
- Account numbers
- Certificate/license numbers
- Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers (e.g. license plate numbers)
- Device identifiers and serial numbers
- IP address numbers
- Biometric identifiers (e.g. finger prints)
- Full face photographic and comparable images
- Any other unique identifying number, characteristic or code
It is important to obtain informed consent from each participant before publishing the (anonymized) data. Although both verbal and written consent are both equally valid, we strongly recommend the written alternative. The UK Data Archive provides a sample consent form, which is usually distributed together with a study information sheet.
Ethics committee approval
Research standards often require studies to be approved by ethics committees. These bodies are referred to as Research Ethics Committee (REC), Independent Ethics Committee (IEC), Ethical Review Board (ERB) or Institutional Review Board (IRB). Regulations differ from country to country, and approval by an ethics committee might not always be required by law. However, we recommend to obtain ethics clearance for all BCI studies involving collection of new data. If possible, a large and official ethics committee should be preferred over small internal committees, for example committees registered with the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
Before sharing the data, you need to make sure that you own the copyrights of the data sets. Since our database contains open data, you should license your data set with an appropriate license. We strongly suggest to use one of the existing licenses for this purpose, for example the Creative Commons Attribution License or the Open Data Commons Attribution License. Both of these licenses let others use your data freely as long as they appropriately credit you for the original data. A good default option is the Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives license (CC BY-ND 4.0).