February 24, 2021

TemplateFlow: a community archive of imaging templates and atlases for improved consistency in neuroimaging

Neuroimaging templates and corresponding atlases play a central role in experimental workflows and are the foundation for reporting of results. The proliferation of templates and atlases is one relevant source of methodological variability across studies, which has been brought to attention recently as an important challenge to reproducibility in neuroscience. Unclear nomenclature, an overabundance of template variants and options, inadequate provenance tracking and maintenance, and poor concordance between atlases introduce further unreliability into reported results. We introduce TemplateFlow, a cloud-based repository of human and nonhuman brain templates paired with a client application for programmatically accessing resources. TemplateFlow is designed to be extensible, providing a transparent pathway for researchers to contribute and vet templates and their associated atlases. Following software engineering best practices, TemplateFlow leverages technologies for unambiguous resource identification, data management, versioning and synchronisation, programmatic extensibility, and continuous integration. By equipping researchers with a robust resource for using and evaluating brain templates, TemplateFlow will contribute to increasing the reliability of neuroimaging results.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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