We initiated the SPRUCE experiment to conduct whole-ecosystem warming studies at an ecosystem scale. To get the most value from the investment, there was a need to open the study to external researchers as long as their proposed work would not compromise core study objectives and would not overlap established tasks. Collaborations brought disciplinary diversity to the research group, and the development of mechanistic models was an overarching goal. Conclusions: Be open to participation of others, be willing to share data, communicate research ideas and results regularly. Research collaborations led to important insights and key publications.