On May 22, 2013, the Core Microscopy Facility at the University of Indiana at Bloomington held an all-day workshop on image processing and analysis. Approximately 120 people from all levels of academic science at the university attended, surely one of the largest events at a university on these issues. Further, the workshop has several lessons for the science community on how to engage researchers in the major issues of digital image technology and integrity.
In the morning sessions, faculty members first gave presentations and led discussions of key topics in image processing such as principles of image quantification and basic digital image quantification. See the agenda with links to presentation slides here. In the afternoon, graduate students gave short research talks involving image process and quantification. Then the final four hours was a presentation on issues and emerging standards in the integrity of science image data, followed by workshop sessions on basic image processing and basic image quantification. (The session on image integrity was presented by our own Kirsten Miles, who provided support as well for the workshop sessions.)
The Indiana event has several lessons that can be successfully applied to other workshops and sessions devoted to these increasingly important issues in science.
Key was the emphasis on the use of data images in current research on campus, followed by using appropriate techniques, retaining the appropriate metadata on the capture and manipulation of images, and the importance of understanding wider issues of maintaining the integrity of research images.
A second factor was the engagement of researchers at all academic levels, so that graduate students could hear issues from a wide range of fields as they discussed the use of images.
Finally, including hands on experience helped to solidify the connections between the issues and the details of conducting research in this environment.
We think that similar seminar-workshops can be an effective method for other universities, and research institutions, especially including microscopy labs, whether for 120 as at Indiana or in smaller department settings.