Brain Imaging Data Structure

A simple and intuitive way to organize and describe your neuroimaging and behavioral data.

About BIDS

Neuroimaging experiments result in complicated data that can be arranged in many different ways. So far there is no consensus how to organize and share data obtained in neuroimaging experiments. Even two researchers working in the same lab can opt to arrange their data in a different way. Lack of consensus (or a standard) leads to misunderstandings and time wasted on rearranging data or rewriting scripts expecting certain structure. Here we describe a simple and easy to adopt way of organizing neuroimaging and behavioral data.

BIDS is heavily inspired by the format used internally by the OpenfMRI repository (now known as While working on BIDS we consulted many neuroscientists to make sure it covers most common experiments, but at the same time is intuitive and easy to adopt. The specification is intentionally based on simple file formats and folder structures to reflect current lab practices and make it accessible to a wide range of scientists coming from different backgrounds.

A good introduction to the BIDS standard can be found in the paper published in Nature Scientific Data.


By using this standard you will benefit in the following ways:

  • It will be easy for another researcher to work on your data. To understand the organization of the files and their format you will only need to refer them to this document. This is especially important if you are running your own lab and anticipate more than one person working on the same data over time. By using BIDS you will save time trying to understand and reuse data acquired by a graduate student or postdoc that has already left the lab.
  • There is a growing number of data analysis software packages that can understand data organized according to BIDS.
  • Databases such as, LORIS, COINS, XNAT, SciTran and others will accept and export datasets organized according to BIDS. If you ever plan to share your data publicly (nowadays some journals require this) you can speed up the curation process by using BIDS.
  • There are validation tools (also available online) that can check your dataset integrity and let you easily spot missing values.

Software currently supporting BIDS:

The BIDS specification (1.1.0)

The BIDS specification is available as a PDF download

Download BIDS specification

Getting started

Read the Starter Kit

BIDS Starter Kit

Learn from examples

Full Datasets in

Stripped down datasets on

Confused? Need help?

Post a question on

Get involved in making BIDS better

Found a typo or want to clarify a particular description?
Add your modification directly to the appropriate Google Document

BIDS draft

Extension Proposal 2 - Models specification

Extension Proposal 3 - Common derivatives

Extension Proposal 5 - Arterial spin labeling

Extension Proposal 6 - Electroencephalography

Extension Proposal 9 - Positron Emission Tomography

Extension Proposal 10 - intracranial Electroencephalography

Extension Proposal 11 - The structural preprocessing derivatives

Extension Proposal 12 - The functional preprocessing derivatives

Extension Proposal 13 - The resting state fMRI derivatives

Extension Proposal 14 - Spaces and Mappings

Extension Proposal 15 - Mapping file

Extension Proposal 16 - The diffusion weighted imaging derivatives

Extension Proposal 17 - Generic BIDS connectivity data schema

Extension Proposal 20 - Eye Tracking

Extension Proposal 21 - Common Electrophysiological derivatives

Extension Proposal 22 - PET preprocessing derivatives

Extension Proposal 23 - MRSI derivatives

Want to add a new field or discuss a larger improvement?
Post your suggestion on the mailing list

The BIDS mailing list

Want to extend BIDS to a new modality or set of data types?
Draft a BIDS Extension Proposal (BEP) following the BIDS Contributor Guide

BIDS Contributor Guide

Please adhere to our Code of Conduct
Thank you for your contributions!

BIDS Code of Conduct


This work has been supported by the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility and the Neuroimaging Data Sharing Task Force.