BALSA (Brain Analysis Library of Spatial maps and Atlases) is a database for hosting and sharing neuroimaging and neuroanatomical datasets for human and primate species.

BALSA houses curated, user-created Study datasets, extensively analyzed neuroimaging data associated with published figures and Reference datasets mapped to brain atlas surfaces and volumes in human and nonhuman primates as a general resource (e.g., published cortical parcellations).

Scenes and wb_view

Datasets in BALSA are organized as “scenes” generated in wb_view, a brain visualization program distributed as part of the Connectome Workbench software platform.

"Scene files" in BALSA facilitate data upload, previews, download, and visualization:

  • Complex datasets can be shared with custom display/labelling options exactly as study owners want them viewed by users.
  • Users can quickly load and flexibly interact with the data in the 3D wb_view workspace.
  • No login needed to preview scene ‘thumbnails’ in BALSA or to download data having no release constraints.
  • Human data: accessible upon agreeing to applicable Data Use Terms.

Similar formats to scenes created in other neuroimaging platforms will be supported in future.

Linking of BALSA datasets to publications

When data is uploaded, each scene file, and every individual scene within it, is assigned a unique URL and webpage in BALSA, allowing it to be cited and accessed directly from a publication, a webpage, or from social media posts.

Each dataset in BALSA, may include a PMID and/or DOI that links it directly to a relevant publication.

Why submit to BALSA?

Promote your work. Sharing your dataset on BALSA boosts the visibility and impact of your research.

Enable evaluation and comparison. Sharing your data on BALSA facilitates evaluation of your study and encourages researchers to include your study in cross-study analyses.

Connect and collaborate. Contributing to BALSA will connect you with interested scientists engaging with your work, which may lead to fruitful interactions and collaborations.

Accelerate advances. Stimulate scientific discussion and new investigations by adding to the collection of neuroimaging and neuroanatomical datasets available.

Get started!

Register for a BALSA account.

To create a study or submit data to BALSA, you must log in to your BALSA account and agree to terms to become a BALSA submitter.

Learn more about Submitting to BALSA.

Questions and comments?

If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about BALSA, please use the HCP-Users list. To subscribe, click here, as your inputs may be of interest to other BALSA users and HCP users more broadly.


Van Essen DC et al. (2016). The Brain Analysis Library of Spatial maps and Atlases (BALSA) database. NeuroImage 144B: 270-274.