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A platform for high-throughput and reproducible neurophysiology, openly available to run experiments for external scientists.

Test theories of brain function

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OpenScope freely opens the Allen Brain Observatory pipeline to the neuroscience community, enabling theoretical, computational, and experimental scientists to test sophisticated hypotheses on brain function in a process analogous to astronomical observatories that survey the night sky.

Once a year, OpenScope will accept experimental proposals from external scientists, which will be reviewed by a panel of leading experts from the international community for their feasibility and scientific merit. The Allen Institute will carry out the selected in vivo experiments in mice brains following verified, reproducible, and open protocols for in vivo single- and multi-area two photon calcium imaging and Neuropixels electrophysiology, making the data openly available to these scientists and to the community. This will lower barriers to testing new hypotheses about brain function, bring new computational and theoretical talents into the field, and enhance the reproducibility of results in brain research, thereby accelerating progress toward an integrated understanding of neural activity in health and disease.

The 2023 OpenScope application process is now open.

Full Proposal Due: November 7th, 2023 (5 pm Pacific)


Watch the latest video update for 2023 by Jérôme Lecoq.


Program Overview: 

  • End-to-end standardized experimental platform including brain surgery, animal training, neuronal recordings (in vivo electrophysiology or calcium imaging) and brain reconstruction. 
  • Data standardization and sharing via Neurodata Without Boarders (NWB) files in the cloud. 
  • A yearly application cycle evaluating scientific proposals from the global scientific community. 
  • Animal behavior training to test novel hypotheses of brain function. 

2021 Annual Report

2022 Annual Report

Connect with us to learn more! View our OpenScope Applicant Webinar and schedule a 1:1 to consult on project proposals via [email protected]. 

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OpenScope: The first shared observatory for neuroscience

Program Details


Access to the OpenScope program is available to scientists internationally. All experimental work is generously supported by an NIH U24 resource grant (U24 NS113646-01A1) to serve the global scientific community. The Allen Brain Observatory platform was initiated and established in 2016 thanks to funding from The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Falconwood Foundation. 

Application and selection process:

In 2023, we will have two complementary tracks for OpenScope, a double-blinded track and a community track.

  • Double blinded track: This track is exactly similar to our previous rounds and follow a two-stage selection process. Short letters of intent are first selected for a full application submission. The review is done using double-blinding in order to remove any selection bias.

    Applications for this track will be open in July 2023.

  • Community track: This track is new to 2023. We will work with the community to draft and select a proposal in the open among a set of shared ideas on our community forum. Proposals will be voted and selected by the community. To participate in this track, join the forum and participate in discussions in the OpenScope Category.


  • The OpenScope platform tests novel hypotheses on brain function using an established data collection pipeline
  • Platform utilizes cutting- edge Neuropixels recordings, two-photon calcium imaging and behavioral training
  • Data is curated, standardized and disseminated with open standards.
  • Experimental data is eventually released to the public after a minimum one year embargo.

All datasets collected on the platform are cross-referenced through shared standards and data access, allowing further meta-analysis and comparison by the community. An external team will need to analyze and then submit the outcome to bioRxiv and a journal. We don’t own the data, which will have restricted access for a one year period.

Possible scientific applications: 

  • To test an existing hypothesis on brain function at scale with in vivo neuronal recordings.
  • To characterize neuronal responses with either two photon calcium imaging (single or multi-plane imaging) or electrophysiological recordings (single or multi-probes recordings).
  • Used to study neuronal communication during either passively viewing or behavioral tasks.
  • Used to distribute standardized experimental datasets to the community.