Open Data Commons

The Open Data Commons (ODC) is a cloud-based community-governed repository to store, share, and publish research data on Spinal Cord Injury ( and Traumatic Brain Injury (

WHY share data?

There are several challenges to scientific reproducibility and bench-to-bedside translation. For example, only research and published data are disseminated, a phenomenon known as publication bias. Published research reflects only a tiny fraction of all data collected. Data that do not lead to publication are largely ignored, hidden in filing cabinets and hard drives. This results in an abundance of inaccessible scientific data known as “dark data.” When research is disseminated, it is usually in summary reports of aggregated data (e.g., averages across individual subjects) such as scientific articles.

WHY the ODCs?

The SCI community created the ODC-SCI to mitigate dark data in SCI research. This was followed by the creation of the ODC-TBI repository. The ODC aims to increase transparency with individual-level data, enhance collaboration, facilitate analytics, and conform to increasing mandates by funders and publishers to make data accessible. Members of the ODCI have access to a private digital lab space managed by the PI or multi-PIs for dataset storage and sharing. The PIs can share their labs’ datasets with the registered members of the ODC community and make their datasets public and citable. The ODC implements stewardship principles that scientific data be made FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and has been widely adopted by the international SCI and TBI research community.

Read more about ODC in our publications

  • Chou A, Torres-Espín A, Huie JR, et al. Empowering Data Sharing and Analytics through the Open Data Commons for Traumatic Brain Injury Research. Neurotrauma Rep. 2022;3(1):139-157. Published 2022 Apr 5. doi:10.1089/neur.2021.0061

  • Torres-Espín A, Almeida CA, Chou A, et al. Promoting FAIR Data Through Community-driven Agile Design: the Open Data Commons for Spinal Cord Injury ( [published online ahead of print, 2021 Aug 4]. Neuroinformatics. 2021;10.1007/s12021-021-09533-8. doi:10.1007/s12021-021-09533-8

  • Fouad K, Bixby JL, Callahan A, et al. FAIR SCI Ahead: The Evolution of the Open Data Commons for Pre-Clinical Spinal Cord Injury Research. J Neurotrauma. 2020;37(6):831-838. doi:10.1089/neu.2019.6674

  • Callahan A, Anderson KD, Beattie MS, et al. Developing a data sharing community for spinal cord injury research. Exp Neurol. 2017;295:135-143. doi:10.1016/j.expneurol.2017.05.012

  • Nielson JL, Guandique CF, Liu AW, et al. Development of a database for translational spinal cord injury research. J Neurotrauma. 2014;31(21):1789-1799. doi:10.1089/neu.2014.3399

  • Ferguson AR, Nielson JL, Cragin MH, Bandrowski AE, Martone ME. Big data from small data: data-sharing in the 'long tail' of neuroscience. Nat Neurosci. 2014;17(11):1442-1447. doi:10.1038/nn.3838

Guides: Jump right in

Follow our handy guides to get started on the basics as quickly as possible:

pageGetting started

Fundamentals: Dive a little deeper

Learn the fundamentals of ODC and FAIR:

pageWhy share data with ODC?pageFAIR data

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