Nowadays there are several groups around the world doing excellent work using different kinds of techniques all based on the physics of coherent X-ray imaging (CXI). Due to several reasons, including lack of a standard file format, there has been limited sharing of data which severely limits possible synergies inside the community.
At the same time there is a population of researchers who do not have access to the facilities required to make such kinds of experiments, or do not have the expertise and resources necessary to carry them out. But many of them would be able to test new ideas and techniques if they would have access to the experimental data.
The main goal of the Coherent X-ray Imaging Data Bank is to address these problems by creating an open repository for CXI experimental data.
Such a repository provides several important benefits including:
- Expansion of the CXI community directly leading to an increase in the science output.
- The existence of an archival place for all the experimental data would ensure that such data does not gets lost forever when the group that did the experiment is no longer interested in the data.
- The availability of the experimental data to the entire community greatly facilitates reproducibility, leading to higher quality and more transparent science.
- The development of a well documented file format for CXI data facilitates data sharing and might one day lead to its emergence as a de facto standard.
Current free electron laser facilities such as the LCLS are capable of producing very large amounts of data (20TB a day) and the coming European FEL is expected to increase this rate a factor of 500. The analyzes of such large bodies of data will have to be distributed through a large community to make it manageable, and this repository could be an important facilitator in this process
Eventually such a repository could one day turn into the CXI version of the Protein Data Bank.