National network of trusted data repositories establish standard for the future

12 December 2017

Imaging equipment such as MRI, PET and CT scanners are capable of producing vast amounts of valuable research data. In order to maximise research outcomes, data must be stored securely, have its quality verified, and should be accessible to the wider research community.

Informatics fellows from around Australia have combined their expertise to build a series of Trusted Data Repositories (TDR's) to provide researchers with a secure location to store, share and curate their data.

This national project, Delivering durable, reliable, high-quality image data, jointly funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and Research Data Services (RDS), guarantees the storage of data for at least 10 years for use in future research. 

Led by the National Imaging Facility (NIF), the project brought together researchers and informatics specialists from UQ’s Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI), Monash Biomedical Imaging (MBI), Monash eResearch Centre, the University of Western Australia, RCC (Research Computing Centre, UQ) and the University of NSW. Together, the team has established best practices for TDR's to store imaging data nationally, through the NIF network.

The team met throughout the year to tackle the issue of long term reliable imaging data storage and access

At UQ, the team further developed the existing ImageTrove repository using MyTardis, an open source imaging informatics software platform. They included plugins that enable the automation of Quality Control and Quality Assurance (QC/QA) procedures and the upload of raw imaging data with its associated QC/QA metadata. The UQ repository also includes the integration of persistent identifiers for NIF scanners, accessibility through AAF (Australian Access Federation) and cross platform integration with DICOM.

According to CAI Informatics Fellow Dr Andrew Janke  the TDR allows all visitors to the Centre to access their project data easily, irrespective of their institution. 

"We are now working to streamline access to the ImageTrove TDR by integration with eduGAIN functionality such that any researcher worldwide can easily login and access their project data,”

“Our next steps are to make use of the TDR developments on all the scanners within CAI, including the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures for all scanners, working towards ISO compliance in the future to meet the needs of our commercial partners”.