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How To Share Data in XNAT

This documentation assumes that you have read and understood user permission issues with data sharing discussed here: Understanding Data Sharing in XNAT's Security Structure.


Data sharing in XNAT is a powerful tool that is commonly used for several purposes. These are the most common:

  • To aid investigators in gathering large cohorts of subjects from other similar studies for broad analysis
  • To coordinate data from multiple sites into an "Umbrella Project."

When data is created or uploaded in XNAT, it belongs to a single project. This is the source project. However, that data can be shared into many destination projects, by any user who has permission to view that data in the source project.


Sharing A Subject And All Its Experiments

In XNAT, the report page for any data element that can be shared has a tab at the top of its report page called "Projects." Click on that tab to show which project has ownership of that data (aka the "source project"), and which project(s) the data has been shared into. To share this subject and all (or some) of its experiments into a new project, do the following: 

1. Go to the Share Into menu and select a project that you have ownership permission on, then click Share

Only projects that you have ownership permission of will show up in this list. If you do not see any projects in this list, you can create a new one by going to New > Project in the top navigation. See: Creating and Managing Projects


2. A Sharing Manager modal window will open, allowing you to select which experiments you wish to share along with the subject. You can also relabel the subject and its experiments as you wish. You cannot fundamentally alter the relationship between the subject and its experiment, for example, by trying to "share" an experiment from one subject in a source project to a different subject in a destination project.


3. Click "Share" in the modal window. The page will refresh, and the Projects tab will reflect the fact that the data has now been shared.


4. Navigate to your destination project. You will see your shared subject and its experiments listed there, displaying whatever label you have chosen to assign them.


You will also notice on the subject report page of this shared subject that the shared experiments belonging to that subject have been highlighted. This is to reinforce that this project does not own that data.

You can add new experiments or image assessors to this subject within this shared project, and your newly added data will belong to your destination project. For more information, see Understanding Data Sharing in XNAT's Security Structure.


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