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Overview of SPARC Dataset Format

An overview of the SPARC data format.
Updated at: 08/04/2021

Organization of a SPARC Dataset

SPARC data is organized into datasets, each containing many files.

A dataset template (currently at version 1.2.3) with examples of folder structures is available as a zip file. The structure can also be viewed directly on GitHub.

A SPARC data set comprises the following data and structure:

  • An experimental protocol that has been submitted to and curated.
  • Data files organized in folders by the investigators and curated according to the SPARC Dataset Structure. The SPARC Dataset Structure was adapted from the BIDS specification. These files and folders include:
    • dataset_description (xlsx, csv, or json): file contains the study metadata to describe the dataset, including but not limited to, a short description of the study, contributors, associated journal articles and a URL.
    • subjects file (xlsx, csv, or json): contains information on every subject involved in the data collection
    • samples file (xlsx, csv, or json): contains information about samples involved in the data collection.
    • A primary folder, containing folders named to match the identifiers for subjects and/or samples depending on the study design. See the dataset template for examples.
    • Docs folder that contains all the supporting documents for the dataset, including but not limited to, a representative image.
  • For more information on how to use SPARC data and the SPARC dataset structure, see Navigating a SPARC dataset.

Example of data set organized according to SPARC Dataset structure

SPARC Dataset Overview New

SPARC Metadata

Experimental metadata specified by the SPARC Data Standards Committee based on the Minimal Information for a Neuroscience Dataset (MINDS) specification. MINDS metadata fields have been incorporated into the subjects and samples templates available in the zip file. An annotated list of these fields can be found here.