Dear MRtrix users,
We have a small favour to ask. MRtrix is free and open-source software, provided to support the clinical and scientific community in neuroimaging research. However, we have very few means to measure its impact. Therefore, we would like to suggest a number of simple steps you can take to show your support for the project.
Why we need your support:
We are increasingly required to demonstrate to funding agencies and our own institutions that the time we invest in maintaining the software is worthwhile. We need to provide evidence of the impact of MRtrix, both within the research community, and in the clinic. For example, the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) will determine the level of funding that our institution will receive from the UK government, and specifically asks for evidence of impact outside of academia.
As an open-source, non-profit project, MRtrix has always been available to everyone without restriction. We have never required users to register, or to declare what use they are making of the software, and we have no intention of ever doing so. Unfortunately, this makes it very difficult for us to gather the kind of evidence that we need. For instance, GitHub, where the MRtrix source code is hosted, only provides indirect measures of the number of “clones” (downloads) over the previous two weeks – we have no reliable measure of the overall number of downloads, let alone the number of actual installations. Furthermore, MRtrix can also be installed via different third-party projects (e.g. from the Debian repositories), and we have no way to track those installations. Even if we did have these numbers, we would still have no information on the kinds of applications that MRtrix is being used for.
How you can help:
If you haven’t already, please register on the forum. Even if you don’t want to participate in the forum discussions, the number of registered users on the forum is one of our best measures of the community impact we have. Moreover, if you wish to, you will receive regular email updates of the active topics and latest news.
Please complete your user profile, including 3 new fields for your institute, your position and the type of work you do (academic / clinical / industry). You can find these fields in your account > Preferences > Profile. This information is very useful for us to gauge our impact within and outside academia.
Write a brief testimonial, particularly if you use MRtrix for clinical or commercial purposes. Information such as how many patients are being investigated using MRtrix and what role MRtrix plays in their management is invaluable in demonstrating impact. If you use MRtrix in commercial applications, mention the name and purpose of the product or service and, if applicable, a link to the product’s webpage. You could also outline how many people use MRtrix in your team and what you are investigating with MRtrix.
We suggest you provide your testimonial by responding directly on this thread. Alternatively, if you would rather keep this information private, feel free to send us a direct message instead.
Please cite the MRtrix3 paper in your own publications where relevant.
Many thanks in advance for your kind support!
The MRtrix team