Table_1_Navigating the Murine Brain: Toward Best Practices for Determining and Documenting Neuroanatomical Locations in Experimental Studies.XLSX
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In experimental neuroscientific research, anatomical location is a key attribute of experimental observations and critical for interpretation of results, replication of findings, and comparison of data across studies. With steadily rising numbers of publications reporting basic experimental results, there is an increasing need for integration and synthesis of data. Since comparison of data relies on consistently defined anatomical locations, it is a major concern that practices and precision in the reporting of location of observations from different types of experimental studies seem to vary considerably. To elucidate and possibly meet this challenge, we have evaluated and compared current practices for interpreting and documenting the anatomical location of measurements acquired from murine brains with different experimental methods. Our observations show substantial differences in approach, interpretation and reproducibility of anatomical locations among reports of different categories of experimental research, and strongly indicate that ambiguous reports of anatomical location can be attributed to missing descriptions. Based on these findings, we suggest a set of minimum requirements for documentation of anatomical location in experimental murine brain research. We furthermore demonstrate how these requirements have been applied in the EU Human Brain Project to optimize workflows for integration of heterogeneous data in common reference atlases. We propose broad adoption of some straightforward steps for improving the precision of location metadata and thereby facilitating interpretation, reuse and integration of data.
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