Developing open-source software for bioimage analysis: opportunities and challenges

F1000Res. 2021 Apr 19:10:302. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.52531.1. eCollection 2021.


Fast-paced innovations in imaging have resulted in single systems producing exponential amounts of data to be analyzed. Computational methods developed in computer science labs have proven to be crucial for analyzing these data in an unbiased and efficient manner, reaching a prominent role in most microscopy studies. Still, their use usually requires expertise in bioimage analysis, and their accessibility for life scientists has therefore become a bottleneck. Open-source software for bioimage analysis has developed to disseminate these computational methods to a wider audience, and to life scientists in particular. In recent years, the influence of many open-source tools has grown tremendously, helping tens of thousands of life scientists in the process. As creators of successful open-source bioimage analysis software, we here discuss the motivations that can initiate development of a new tool, the common challenges faced, and the characteristics required for achieving success.

Keywords: Open-source; bioimage analysis; life science; software.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Software*