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  1. It is widely assumed that distributed neuronal networks are fundamental to the functioning of the brain. Consistent spike timing between neurons is thought to be one of the key principles for the formation of these networks. This can involve synchronous spiking or spiking with time delays, forming spike sequences when the order of spiking is consistent. Finding networks defined by their sequence of time-shifted spikes, denoted here as spike timing networks, is a tremendous challenge. As neurons can participate in multiple spike sequences at multiple between-spike time delays, the possible complexity of networks is prohibitively large. We present a novel approach that is capable of (1) extracting spike timing networks regardless of their sequence complexity, and (2) that describes their spiking sequences with high temporal precision. We achieve this by decomposing frequency-transformed neuronal spiking into separate networks, characterizing each network’s spike sequence by a time delay per neuron, forming a spike sequence timeline. These networks provide a detailed template for an investigation of the experimental relevance of their spike sequences. Using simulated spike timing networks, we show network extraction is robust to spiking noise, spike timing jitter, and partial occurrences of the involved spike sequences. Using rat multi-neuron recordings, we demonstrate the approach is capable of revealing real spike timing networks with sub-millisecond temporal precision. By uncovering spike timing networks, the prevalence, structure, and function of complex spike sequences can be investigated in greater detail, allowing us to gain a better understanding of their role in neuronal functioning. 
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