About OpenfMRI

The OpenfMRI database (Poldrack et al. 2013; Poldrack & Gorgolewski 2015) is a repository of human brain imaging data collected using MRI and EEG techniques. It has been accepting data since 2010; it initially only accepted datasets that included task based fMRI (a technique measuring how performing a particular task influences brain activation), but has subsequently become open to all forms of neuroimaging data that include MRI data. Despite its initial limited scope, a study performed in 2015 estimated that $878,400 has been saved by reusing OpenfMRI data instead of acquiring new data (Gorgolewski, Wheeler, et al. 2015). The success of the platform can be at least partially attributed to simplicity of data organization and the lack of any barriers to data access. No registration or license agreement is required to obtain the data, which is distributed, by default, using a Public Domain license. This is possible because data are anonymized before distribution to protect the confidentiality of participants.

Data deposited in OpenfMRI can be used to address or validate many questions concerning the human brain structure and function. Discoveries using this data not only help us understand how the human brain works, but also get us closer to understanding and curing mental illnesses. In addition open availability of data supporting scientific claims increases their validity due to ease of analysis replication.

OpenfMRI has also been listed as a recommended repository by some academic journals such as Nature Scientific Data, PloS One, and F1000Research. It has been a recognized data destination for a number of years and we hope that with the help of RDA funding we can further its mission.

Development of the OpenfMRI project has been supported by the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

To learn more about our database please see the Frequently Asked Questions


Gorgolewski, K.J., Wheeler, K., et al., 2015. The impact of shared data in neuroimaging: the case of OpenfMRI.org. Available at:


Poldrack, R.A. et al., 2013. Toward open sharing of task-based fMRI data: the OpenfMRI project. Frontiers in neuroinformatics, 7(July), pp.1–12. Available at:


Poldrack, R.A. & Gorgolewski, K.J., 2014. Making big data open: data sharing in neuroimaging. Nature neuroscience, 17(11), pp.1510–1517. Available at:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nn.3818 [Accessed October 28, 2014].