One of the critical challenges in developing structure-modifying therapies for arthritis, especially osteoarthritis (OA), is measuring changes in progression of joint destruction. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) offers considerable promise in this regard. Not only can MRI quantify articular cartilage volume and morphology with high precision and accuracy, but it can also examine several other important articular components, and thus offer a unique opportunity to evaluate the knee and other joints as whole organs. On December 5 and 6, 2002, OMERACT (Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Clinical Trials) and OARSI (Osteoarthritis Research Society International), with support from various pharmaceutical companies listed at the beginning of this supplement, held a Workshop for Consensus on Osteoarthritis Imaging in Bethesda, MD. The aim of the Workshop was to provide a state-of-the-art review of imaging outcome measures for OA of the knee to help guide scientists and pharmaceutical companies who want to use MRI in multi-site studies of OA. Applications of MRI were initially reviewed by a multidisciplinary, international panel of expert scientists and physicians from academia, the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory agencies. The findings of the panel were then presented to a wider group of participants for open discussion. The following report summarizes the results of these discussions with respect to MRI acquisition techniques for whole-organ assessment of the knee in OA. The discussion reviews the selection and qualification of imaging sites for clinical trials, designing imaging protocols for whole-organ assessment of OA, and key considerations in image quality (IQ) control and data management.