Increasing community engagement
BoneJ is a suite of open-source plug-ins for bone shape analysis. It is developed by Michael Doube (The Royal Veterinary College, The University of London), who contacted us for assistance via our Open Call, which led to a collaboration.
The BoneJ plug-ins work within the public domain ImageJ software, providing tools for trabecular geometry and whole bone shape analysis. It was originally funded by BBSRC.
The software allows researchers to measure morphological parameters in bones and bone tissue, to understand how bone structures are vary among species at the cell, tissue and organ scales. Development on the software started because commercial offerings were too expensive, closed source and didn't work especially well.
In our collaboration, we are exploring a number of issues. We'll be advising on a website redesign to make it easier for researchers to understand how to use BoneJ, how BoneJ works, and the ways in which they can contribute to BoneJ's future development. We'll be working to improve the BoneJ community engagement, for example via a contributions to policy and coding standards - at present BoneJ already includes code written by other researchers, or ported from code written by other researchers. We'll improve how BoneJ is tested and how BoneJ could be redesigned to promote testability. Finally, we'll work to improve BoneJ's packaging and make it easier to install, especially in light of BoneJ's third-party dependencies.