Data Retention Policies

OpenNeuro has a data retention policy in place to ensure the maintainability of and prevent abuse of the service.

Data storage

OpenNeuro datasets are stored as git/git-annex repositories on Google Cloud storage media. Small files are included as git objects, while large files are added to the annex. On each snapshot, a tag is made in the git repository, and copies of all files are synchronized to an Amazon Web Services S3 bucket. This S3 bucket is used as a remote for git-annex, ensuring high-availability access.

Content integrity assurance

Content integrity is assured through multiple mechanisms. The git and git-annex protocols use content-addressing to refer to each object in the dataset by its cryptographic hash, providing a first defense against accidental replacement of one file with another.

Amazon S3 also provides checksums to ensure that uploaded data may be retrieved unchanged.

Finally, incremental backups (see Backups) compare checksums to identify files that have changed from one day to the next, ensuring the recoverability of corrupted data.


OpenNeuro uses daily incremental backups of all datasets to ensure integrity and availability.

Data administration and deletion

In order to ensure the high availability of uploaded datasets and prevent abuse of the service, OpenNeuro may delete data under certain conditions.

Automatic deletion

OpenNeuro reservces the right to delete draft data following a 28-day grace period.

Draft data is any data that is not included in a versioned snapshot. When a dataset is first uploaded, it is placed in draft status, and the entire dataset is subject to deletion until the first snapshot is made. If the first snapshot is not made within 28 days, deleting draft data results in the entire dataset being deleted.

After a snapshot, a dataset may be placed in draft status again by making changes to the dataset, including metadata changes that are encoded in dataset_description.json. If a new snapshot is not created within 28 days, then the dataset may be reverted to the most recent snapshot at any time.

Only data included in a snapshot is guaranteed to be accessible. If a file is uploaded and deleted between snapshots, then it may become inaccessible at any time, even if it was temporarily accessible.

Manual review and deletion

OpenNeuro makes use of a .bidsignore file to allow dataset owners to upload datasets that include files that are not standardized. This mechanism is intended to ensure that datasets may be uploaded with all available information despite gaps in definitions in the BIDS standard.

However, this mechanism can potentially be used to store datasets that simply do not conform to the BIDS standard, which is an abuse of the terms of service. Any suspected abuse will be manually reviewed, and OpenNeuro may take steps to remediate the abuse. These steps may range from consultation with uploaders to correct the dataset to summary deletion of datasets. OpenNeuro may implement at any time mechanisms to automatically detect potential abuses and flag them for manual review and deletion.