At OpenMR Benelux, I proposed our MRI guide as a hackathon project to receive more input. Despite the fact that there weren’t many participants to help, I received valuable input from an associate professor from Erasmus MC (Stefan Klein), who provided some more technical and medical insights. The rest of my time there, I spent helping with an existing initiative (eCOBIDAS). I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I learned more from my – very patient – collaborators than I imagined was possible in 3 days. Recently, I joined a second hackathon (OHBM Brainhack), which basically repeated this experience: I learned so many new things in a short amount of time. The best part about both these experiences wasn’t only to learn new skills. It was also getting to know colleagues and initiatives outside of the Netherlands that turned out to be very relevant to my own work. In addition, these events were both so informal and accessible that my embarrassment to ask things I didn’t know quickly faded.
In the meantime, the first version of the MRI data sharing guide has been published and we have already received feedback for a next version. My conclusion from this is that community-driven efforts, such as hackathons and our sharing guide, can contribute to scientific advancement in an extremely meaningful way. For me, this meant bringing the right people together to try to figure out the complicated issue that is sharing MRI data. For others, this may mean something different. Overall, I think that community-driven initiatives can have large impact, not only because they result from collaboration, but also because they have personal benefits: you can learn about projects happening in the world, get to know new people and collaborate on projects that you would otherwise never have thought about. It would be great if our MRI data sharing guide could be followed by something more widely applicable and will be just as widely supported as many preceding hackathon projects. In the meantime, I will keep on hacking.
This blog was originally posted on the Erasmus SYNC lab website
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