About NDAR

Vision | Implementation | Federation | Sponsoring Organizations | NDAR Team | NDAR News (2017, Older Items)


NDAR is an extensible, scalable informatics platform for ASD relevant data at all levels of biological and behavioral organization (molecules, genes, neural tissue, behavioral, social and environmental interactions) and for all data types (text, numeric, image, time series, etc.). NDAR was developed to share data across the entire ASD field and to facilitate collaboration across laboratories, as well as interconnectivity with other informatics platforms. Sharing data, associated tools, and methodologies, rather than just summaries or interpretations of them, can accelerate research progress by allowing re-analysis of data, as well as re-aggregation, integration, and rigorous comparison with other data, tools, and methods. This community-wide sharing requires common data definitions and standards, as well as comprehensive and coherent informatics approaches.

The NDAR team has developed and implemented several tools for data definition, standardization and validation in order to help researchers to adopt community data standards across all projects and research institutions. NDAR's Data Dictionary, developed after thorough analyses and input from the whole ASD research community, now comprises over 400 pre-defined data structures. NDAR's Data Dictionary Tool allows researchers to define their own data structures and operates with the NDAR's Validation Tool to ensure the data quality. NDAR requires only minimal adjustments to the way raw data is entered, and multiple web tutorials and demos are available for researchers willing to submit their data.


NDAR is a secure informatics platform for the ASD research community that encompasses the full range of data collected by investigators and combines technologies and policy regimes in order to:

  • define explicitly the nature of the data and how it was collected
  • allow re-aggregation and reanalysis of data
  • assure confidentiality of research subjects
  • promote scientific collaboration
  • provide a convenient schedule for the sharing of descriptive and experimental data
  • promote standardization and harmonization of informatics approaches used within NDAR and across the ASD research community

NDAR combines the function of a data repository, which holds genetic, phenotypic, clinical, and medical imaging data, and the function of a scientific community platform, which defines the standard tools and policies to integrate the computational resources developed by scientific research institutions, private foundations, and other federal and state agencies supporting ASD research. Furthermore, NDAR is working to develop the means to connect relevant repositories together through data federation.

Federation with Other Important Data Repositories

The concept of federated repositories enables data resident in NDAR to be connected with other major public or private autism databases located elsewhere. When such resources are federated, investigators are able to access data, tools, and information across all federated resources from a single point of entry.

The technical architecture of NDAR provides this linkage, regardless of their location or ownership, and in ways that respect the policies, authorization, and implementations of the particular institutions and data resources.

NDAR has or is in the process of federating with the following repositories:

  • Pediatric MRI Data Repository — stores rich phenotypic and imaging data from more than 500 typically developing children, from birth to young adulthood
  • The Autism Tissue Program — a fully funded science program of Autism Speaks that is committed to promoting high quality brain tissue acquisition, processing, stewardship, thorough supportive clinical data acquisition and distribution for research
  • The Autism Genetic Resource Exchange — an electronic data repository housing information from more than 1,000 families affected by ASD. AGRE was created by the advocacy group Cure Autism Now and is currently supported by Autism Speaks.
  • The Interactive Autism Network — an online project of the Kennedy Krieger Institute with funding from Autism Speaks, which contains data on 30,000 individuals and families with an ASD diagnosis who have voluntarily submitted information of interest to scientists.

If your research site is interested in federating with NDAR, please contact us at ndarhelp@mail.nih.gov and refer to SOP-06 Establishment of a Federated Data Resource for an introduction to the process for federation.

Sponsoring Organizations

NDAR is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation's medical research agency, and is supported by the following NIH Institutes and Centers:

NDAR supports the aims of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which coordinates all efforts within the agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

If your research site is interested in federating with NDAR, please contact us at ndarhelp@mail.nih.gov and refer to SOP-06 Establishment of a Federated Data Resource for an introduction to the process for federation.


NDAR Director — Dr. Greg Farber, Director Office of Technology Development and Coordination
NDAR Manager — Mr. Dan Hall, NIMH
Principal Scientist — Dr. Svetlana Novikova, NIMH
Operations Manager — Mr. Brian Koser, NIMH
Principal Analyst, Outreach and Communication — Ms. Gretchen Navidi, NIMH


Recent news articles are also available from the NDAR News web feed.


SEP 01, 2017 - NOV 11, 2017

Big Data Opportunities Using the NIMH Data Archive: SfN 2017 Satellite Event

The NDA will be conducting a satellite event at SfN 2017 in Washington, DC. Join us on November 10 to learn about how to use the infrastructure supported by NDA to accelerate scientific progress. Registration is required to attend.

JUL 06, 2017 - JUL 20, 2017

Temporary Issue: Login Error Loop Solution

The NDA website is currently experiencing a temporary issue with some versions of Chrome that causes users to encounter a chain of errors when attempting to login, making it difficult to access the site. If you encounter this problem, it can be resolved by disabling all of Chrome's automated password fill features, and removing ndar.nih.gov from the list of your saved passwords, or by using a different web browser. Please contact NDAHelp@mail.nih.gov with any questions.

MAY 18, 2017 - JUL 31, 2017

NDA Training Webinars for Summer Submissions Available

One of the NIMH Data Archive (NDA) biannual submission periods for contributing researchers begins June 1, with a deadline of July 15. To assist both new and returning submitters with training or a review of the steps involved, NDA will be hosting a series of three training webinars. These will cover the entire process from pre-requisites to preparation and submission of data, and all three will cover the same material.

To register, simply sign up for the session at you preferred time through the links below:

Monday June 5: 2:00 - 3:00 PM EDT

Wednesday June 24: 3:00 - 4:00 PM EDT

Thursday July 6: 2:30 - 3:30 PM EDT



Older Items

Older items can be found on the News Archive page.