Cognitive neuroscientists increasingly recognize that continued progress in understanding human brain function will require not only the acquisition of new data, but also the synthesis and integration of data across studies and laboratories. Here we review ongoing efforts to develop a more cumulative science of human brain function. We discuss the rationale for an increased focus on formal synthesis of the cognitive neuroscience literature, provide an overview of recently developed tools and platforms designed to facilitate the sharing and integration of neuroimaging data, and conclude with a discussion of several emerging developments that hold even greater promise in advancing the study of human brain function.
The explosive growth of human brain mapping over the past two decades has raised important challenges for the field. As the primary literature expands, the need for powerful tools capable of synthesizing and distilling the findings of many different studies grow commensurately. The present article highlighted the benefits of a synthesis oriented research strategy and reviewed several ongoing efforts to facilitate greater integration of the published literature. Going forward, such integration will undoubtedly accelerate progress in elucidating the neural mechanisms that support the full range of human thought, feeling, and action in health and disease. There is every reason to push forward energetically on efforts to develop a cumulative science of human brain function.