Metadata matters: access to image data in the real world

Melissa Linkert, Curtis T. Rueden, Chris Allan, Jean-Marie Burel, Will Moore, Andrew Patterson, Brian Loranger, Josh Moore, Carlos Neves, Donald MacDonald, Aleksandra Tarkowska, Caitlin Sticco, Emma Hill, Mike Rossner, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Jason R. Swedlow

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

    641 Citations (Scopus)
    300 Downloads (Pure)


    Data sharing is important in the biological sciences to prevent duplication of effort, to promote scientific integrity, and to facilitate and disseminate scientific discovery. Sharing requires centralized repositories, and submission to and utility of these resources require common data formats. This is particularly challenging for multi-dimensional microscopy image data, which are acquired from a variety of platforms with a myriad of proprietary file formats (PFFs). In this paper, we describe an open standard format that we have developed for microscopy image data. We call on the community to use open image data standards and to insist that all imaging platforms support these file formats. This will build the foundation for an open image data repository.

    © 2010 Linkert et al. This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)777-782
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Cell Biology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2010


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