Become a User

Become a User

Access to Use the BRAIN Commons is Tiered:

Zone 1 - Public AccessZone 1 – Public Access

  • Any User can access Zone 1 by registering with a valid email (public access).

Zone 2 - Controlled AccessZone 2 – Controlled Access

  • All Qualified Researchers with Data Access Committee (DAC) approval have access to shared, restricted-access research data.

Zone 3 - Restricted AccessZone 3 – Restricted Access

  • Designated Users with cohort-specific permission have access to individual restricted-access research datasets.

Becoming a General User in the BRAIN Commons Zone 1 - Public Access

Step 1: Creating an account

Establish an account in the BRAIN Commons by creating a new account or by signing in using a valid Google Gmail account. This prompts an instantaneous verification step.

Step 2: Onboarding

Once you are verified, you will be onboarded into the BRAIN Commons, where you will be given the opportunity to review and accept the BRAIN Commons Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, as well as populate your profile page by answering questions about your background and interests. Your responses will help us recommend connections with other users in the BRAIN Commons community that have similar interests or complementary skill sets.

You will have immediate access to Zone 1 (Public Access) data and tools upon completion of these steps.

Becoming a Qualified Researcher in the BRAIN Commons Zone 1 - Public Access Zone 2 - Controlled Access

If you are interested in obtaining Qualified Researcher status, we recommend following the process below.

Step 1: Creating an account

Establish an account in the BRAIN Commons by signing in using your Office 365 or InCommon account. This prompts an instantaneous verification step.

To find out if your institution or organization is associated with InCommon, visit https://incommon.org/community-organizations/.

Step 2: Onboarding

This step is the same for both General Users and those who wish to obtain Qualified Researcher status in the BRAIN Commons. Please see, Step 2: Onboarding, under the General User section above.

Step 3: Qualifying for access to Zone 2 data

Once you have completed the onboarding process, you will need to request zone 2 access from the BRAIN Commons Homepage or from your newly populated Profile Page. Clicking on the “Request Zone 2 Access” button will initiate the qualification process and require you to complete the Data Use Policy which involves institutional sign off and three NIH sponsored trainings to ensure users will act responsibly with the data and tools available. It is recommended that you complete the trainings ahead of time to expedite the qualification process once you are in the BRAIN Commons. You can find the trainings in the NIH public access portal and from the links provided below.

The trainings will take between 30 – 60 minutes each to complete and you will need to upload your completion certificates into the BRAIN Commons platform as a part of the qualification process.

Step 4: Data Access Committee (DAC) Review & Approval

After submission of the required documentation, your request will be reviewed for approval by the BRAIN Commons DAC. Upon approval, you will have access to all cohorts (i.e., datasets) in Zone 2. This is a one-time qualification process to enable access to all data contributed to Zone 2 of the BRAIN Commons. The approval process will take less than two weeks.

If you are already a Designated User in the BRAIN Commons, you will simply need to request Zone 2 access and your documentation will be submitted for review by the DAC.

Becoming a Designated User in the BRAIN Commons Zone 1 - Public Access Zone 3 - Restricted Access

If you are listed on a BRAIN Commons Data Contributor Agreement (DCA) as a designated user for a particular dataset, you will be authorized to access private data, under that DCA, within the BRAIN Commons.

Step 1: Creating an account

You will receive an email from the BRAIN Commons (BC) Team notifying you that your account is ready. Establish an account in the BRAIN Commons by signing in using the email account on file with the BC Team. This prompts an instantaneous verification step.

Step 2: Onboarding

This step is the same for both General Users and those who wish to have Designated User status in the BRAIN Commons and access private data. Please see, Step 2: Onboarding, under the General User section above.

Step 3: Qualifying for access to Zone 3 data

Once you have completed the onboarding process, you will need to request Zone 3 access from the BRAIN Commons Homepage or your newly populated Profile Page. Clicking on the “Request Zone 3 Access” button will initiate the qualification process and require you to complete the Data Use Policy, which involves institutional sign off, and three NIH sponsored trainings to ensure users will act responsibly with the data and tools available. It is recommended that you complete the trainings ahead of time to expedite the qualification process once you are in the BRAIN Commons. You can find the trainings in the NIH public access portal or from the links provided below.

The trainings will take between 30 – 60 minutes each to complete and you will need to upload your completion certificates into the BRAIN Commons platform as a part of the qualification process.

Step 4: BRAIN Commons Team Review & Approval

After submission of the required documentation, your request will be reviewed and approved by the BC team. Upon approval, you will have access to the private cohort (i.e., dataset). The approval process will take less than a week.

If you are already a Qualified Researcher in the BRAIN Commons, you will simply need to request Zone 3 access and your documentation will be leveraged for expedited approval.

Obtaining Advanced Compute Privileges

Advanced compute privileges include the use of the BRAIN Commons (BC) Workspace feature with access to Jupyter Notebook and R Studio. Approved users with R or Python experience can use workspaces to access, store and analyze data across multiple cohorts. Our workspaces allow for collaboration and can be shared among members of a project team. Using the integrated, web based, Jupyter Notebook environment, users can perform advanced querying and analysis within and across the BRAIN Commons datasets.

Qualified Researchers and Designated Users can request advanced computing services and obtain a BC Workspace to access Jypyter Notebook and R Studio. It is recommended that users have programming experience with R or Python to take full advantage of the BC Workspace feature.

To obtain a BC Workspace, a user must have an activated “Request Advanced Compute” button on their Profile Page. This button is activated once a user has been approved for Zone 2 or Zone 3 and has Qualified Researcher or Designated User status in the BRAIN Commons.

After clicking on the “Request Advanced Compute” button on the Profile Page, you will be asked to submit a proposal of your intended analysis as part of the BC Workspace request process. Information about your proposed use of the workspace features will help the BC Team determine the amount of compute and type of computing instance (e.g., EMR, EC2) needed to support the analysis. The BC Team will work with users off-line to execute a services agreement and establish your BC Workspace.

A BRAIN Commons Workspace user guide is available. It provides the how-to-steps for making the most of the BRAIN Commons Workspace experience.

For information on becoming a BRAIN Commons Partner, Sponsor or Member, click here.