Highlight on the microscopy community’s journey towards FAIR image data

Published: 2023-06-29

The imaging community has come together to lay a strong foundation of an ecosystem of FAIR image data, tools and services. At a crucial moment when the link between FAIR data and improved EU research & innovation outputs is recognized by the Swedish presidency of the EU, Euro-BioImaging has authored an article, Building a FAIR image data ecosystem for microscopy communities, in the journal Histological and Cell Biology (HCB) aiming to capture the imaging community’s current position in this journey towards FAIR data. This article, written by Euro-BioImaging ERIC Hub team members, is part of a larger “In Focus” special edition of HCB, conceptualized by guest editors Ben Giepmans and Katy Wolstencroft from Euro-BioImaging Node NL-BioImaging, and Douglas Taatjes. The special edition will include inputs from various image data resources and community initiatives and will focus on “Data Management and Data Analysis in Microscopy.”

With the increasing size and complexity of microscopy data, the imaging community is faced with many challenges in recording, handling, analysing and sharing the image data. If managed well, this growing wealth of information-rich image data holds great potential to be transformed into a global resource for researchers to use and re-use.

Through tireless efforts of an active research and service community around image data, we are witnessing cutting-edge advances in different aspects that help us build a FAIR image data ecosystem for microscopy communities. This multi-faceted community approach is revealed in our article, Building a FAIR image data ecosystem for microscopy communities, which contains a number of practical recommendations for community tools & standards that can be used by researchers to bring their data to the next level and improve research and innovation.

Above: The central figure of the article (Kemmer et al., 2023. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00418-023-02203-7 - used by Creative Commons license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This figure represents the six facets of FAIR bioimaging data (data generation, data management, data analysis, data sharing, data reuse, and FAIR dissemination), coupling them with the approaches and tools currently under active development by the bioimaging community. Further improving all of these areas still requires three overarching elements (awareness, incentives, and rewards) to move toward the ultimate goal of FAIR bioimaging data.

At Euro-BioImaging ERIC, we aim to inspire and encourage researchers in the biological and biomedical imaging communities to work towards making image data FAIR, and democratising this valuable resource. This article reflects this work and reveals the path ahead of us to move more researchers to the ultimate destination.

About Euro-BioImaging

Euro-BioImaging ERIC is a distributed research infrastructure that offers open access to excellent biological and biomedical imaging technologies, training and data services. It provides access to over 100 imaging technologies that are offered through 35 Nodes comprising 173 renowned imaging facilities. Euro-BioImaging ERIC - in addition to its imaging technology services - provides access to Image Data Services, which include coordinating user access for data services through Nodes, participation in European projects, community engagement, support for technical developments and image data stewardship.

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