“At the core of education, engineering, and science lies the quest to better understand and improve the world. This document aims to explain the essential role of open-source hardware for this mission and why it should be considered an essential pillar of the ongoing open science programmes in Dutch Universities.
Open-source hardware is hardware whose design is made publicly available so that anyone can study, modify, distribute, make, and sell the design or other hardware and products based on that design. Ideally, the design of open source hardware is available in the preferred format for making modifications and uses widely available components and materials, standard processes, open infrastructure, unrestricted content, and open-source design tools to maximize the ability of other individuals to make and use hardware. Open-source hardware gives people the freedom to control their technology while sharing knowledge and encouraging commerce through the open exchange of (compatible) designs.
Open Science practices are becoming the norm in academia, and are rightly encouraged by funders and policymakers of higher education. Open-source hardware is an essential pillar of Open Science. Sharing hardware designs openly both enables more people and teams to access it, and through encouraging replication it makes science more reproducible. But it is also an area of contention because of the exclusive knowledge transfer practices and (not always justified) confidentiality clauses in research partnerships or contract defaults.
Beyond academia, open hardware has the potential to radically transform science, education, and society by facilitating collaborative innovation and democratizing access to technology. It can massively accelerate the transition of an invention into a useful product, and simultaneously reduce costs and promote sustainable practices. By promoting open-source hardware initiatives, the Netherlands can solidify its position as a leader in Open Science and contribute to the global effort of achieving the sustainable development goals.”
“Any person or team starting a hardware project in any part of the world can apply to Open Hardware Makers, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or professional background.
Open Hardware Makers supports the development of early stage open hardware projects around the world. You may want to build your project for different purposes (science, education, business, community) and use a variety of materials (analog, digital, mechanical, textiles, bio). In any case, the program will support you in making it open for anyone to reuse….”
“Today, scientists from the Allen Institute for Neural Dynamics, a division of the Allen Institute, launched the world’s first completely open- and crowd-sourced neuroscience experiment-;inviting researchers from around the world to publicly design a shared experiment that will run on the Allen Brain Observatory, as part of the Institute’s OpenScope program. Experiments will probe the dynamic functions of the brain and how cells interact and communicate to produce thoughts and actions and shed light on how we make complex decisions….
Any scientist is now able to join the public forum (https://community.brain-map.org) and suggest research questions and experimental methods to be discussed amongst the community. The community will then vote to select one OpenScope project to be conducted by the Allen Institute. Every phase of design, implementation, and data output will be completely open….
Launched five years ago, OpenScope was inspired by shared astronomical observatories like the Hubble Space Telescope where outside researchers can conduct cutting edge experiments too expensive for individual labs using NASA’s powerful tools and technology. Likewise, OpenScope aims to bring the large-scale standardization of the Allen Institute’s neuroscience platforms to scientists around the world….”
Creating a research hardware publication ecosystem: Technical and cultural roadmap
In this workshop, we will present the requirements of researchers/makers/engineers that we collected from our 15 interviews, discuss requirements of other participating communities, and draw a roadmap for the creation of the cultural and technological ecosystem which will eventually allow for the recognition of FAIR hardware as a research output. This goes in line with our work inside the FAIR Principles for Research Hardware (FAIR4RH) RDA interest group….”
“I help Canadian neuroscience research institutes create and adopt an institute-level approach to open science. Inevitably, I end up talking to researchers, administrators, academic commercialization offices, and businesses about open science, intellectual property (IP), and technology transfer. I’ve written this blog post to highlight some examples of what is possible outside of the standard approach in the hope that it gets some people thinking about the much broader horizon of technology transfer that could exist.
These conversations can become a little… tense. The fact of the matter is that the value of freedom that is central to open science (i.e. freedom to access, freedom to use, freedom to adapt and remix) is in direct tension with IP. The basic purpose of IP is to take the most important right from standard property law–the right to exclude others from accessing or using something you own–and import it into the world of information….
When you are making physical tools this approach is known as “open hardware”. There are numerous examples, including the Miniscope, OpenBCI, OpenTrons, the Glia Project, OpenFlexure, and FarmBot.…
One thing that gives me hope is that if you look at the website of most TTOs and navigate to their mission statement you likely won’t find anything about patents or other forms of IP. What you will find is that they exist to help make sure that inventions are transferred out into the world in a way that produces economic and social good. I think that is what we all want. So, when I meet with technology transfer officers, entrepreneurial researchers, or institutional leadership that is where I start. My job then is simply to convince them that establishing open paths should be added to their toolkit. Doing so can often be quite fun! Hopefully this post helps at least some of you do the same.”
“To promote more equitable research and discovery, many agree there needs to be greater access to research results, data and software.
But sharing the design of scientific instruments – open hardware – is also critical to being able to replicate experiments and build on open knowledge, according to Julieta Arancio, a postdoctoral researcher working at the Center for Science, Technology and Society, Drexel University in Pennsylvania.
She maintains that the impact of open science cannot be fully realized without attention to a specific dimension of open hardware: the practice of licensing the designs of a physical object in a way that allows the object to be studied, modified, and distributed by anyone….”
Abstract: Open hardware solutions are increasingly being chosen by researchers as a strategy to improve access to technology for cutting-edge biology research. The use of DIY technology is already widespread, particularly in countries with limited access to science funding, and is catalyzing the development of open-source technologies. Beyond financial accessibility, open hardware can be transformational for the access of laboratories to equipment by reducing dependence on import logistics and enabling direct knowledge transfer. Central drivers to the adoption of appropriate open-source technologies in biology laboratories around the world are open sharing, digital fabrication, local production, the use of standard parts, and detailed documentation. This Essay examines the global spread of open hardware and discusses which kinds of open-source technologies are the most beneficial in scientific environments with economic and infrastructural constraints.
“Changes in science funders’ mandates have resulted in advances in open access to data, software, and publications. Research capacity, however, is still unequally distributed worldwide, hindering the impact of these efforts. We argue that to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), open science policies must shift focus from products to processes and infrastructure, including access to open source scientific equipment. This article discusses how conventional, black box, proprietary approaches to science hardware reinforce inequalities in science and slow down innovation everywhere, while also representing a threat to research capacity strengthening efforts. We offer science funders three policy recommendations to promote open science hardware for research capacity strengthening: a) incorporating open hardware into existing open science mandates, b) incentivizing demand through technology transfer and procurement mechanisms, c) promoting the adoption of open hardware in national and regional service centers. We expect this agenda to foster capacity building towards enabling the more equitable and efficient science needed to achieve the SDGs.”
“The barriers to the uptake of open hardware in environmental monitoring may seem insurmountable: not only is procurement difficult, but expertise is often hard to find and capacity is hard to build in the context of widespread commercialization of the sciences. We have already made some progress, yet not enough to gain the visibility that other open initiatives have in the broader context of Open Science. With the allocation of resources and capacity, there are straightforward ways to address the standardization issues of open instrumentation for environmental monitoring. In the US, with attention to addressing climate change and environmental inequities through initiatives such as Justice40 and legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act, carving out a space for the inclusion of open hardware would be in the interest of an environmental monitoring space that is focused on the advancement of collective agendas towards community and environmental health. To accomplish this, we suggest the following strategies:
Co-design a common space for the generative “un-siloing” for researchers, open hardware developers, and environmental regulatory authorities. The first aim of this common space should be to create a shared agenda with actionable objectives leading toward concrete goals in the near, medium, and long term.
Co-create a certification system for open environmental monitoring hardware that can operate within regulatory systems of environmental governance. Such a system should identify where and how open hardware tools and the resulting data can be used.
Solve the documentation dilemma with standardization efforts for open instrumentation in which updates and new iterations can be easily followed and understood. A collective effort towards providing a repo of open tools, their use and role in environmental monitoring, and where and how data from these tools can constructively be used in environmental governance and management is a must.
Ensure a percentage of research funds are allocated to the maintenance of open scientific technology projects. To help senior scientists support open technologies, point them to the discussion on the return on investment in open hardware.
Common resources and community-building efforts should focus on infrastructure across the open ecosystem, not just a singular tool. While open hardware involves the design and implementation of the material part of environmental monitoring, it is part of a much broader ecosystem of open technologies that involve software, data, and analytic tools. Funding agendas many times segregate infrastructural components, and domain experts focus on their piece of the infrastructure.
Commercialization of the sciences tends to undermine our ability to achieve cohesive, inclusive, and usable environmental governance structures. Looking to open source communities for better practices for research collaboration may allow for common, centralized efforts and agendas to exist while maintaining the autonomy of decentralized projects and organizations….”
CERN’s core values include making research open and accessible for everyone. A new policy now brings together existing open science initiatives to ensure a bright future based on transparency and collaboration at CERN.
Abstract: Cities around the world are struggling with environmental pollution. The conventional monitoring approaches are not effective for undertaking large-scale environmental monitoring due to logistical and cost-related issues. The availability of low-cost and low-power Internet of Things (IoT) devices has proved to be an effective alternative to monitoring the environment. Such systems have opened up environment monitoring opportunities to citizens while simultaneously confronting them with challenges related to sensor accuracy and the accumulation of large data sets. Analyzing and interpreting sensor data itself is a formidable task that requires extensive computational resources and expertise. To address this challenge, a social, open-source, and citizen-centric IoT (Soc-IoT) framework is presented, which combines a real-time environmental sensing device with an intuitive data analysis and visualization application. Soc-IoT has two main components: (1) CoSense Unit—a resource-efficient, portable and modular device designed and evaluated for indoor and outdoor environmental monitoring, and (2) exploreR—an intuitive cross-platform data analysis and visualization application that offers a comprehensive set of tools for systematic analysis of sensor data without the need for coding. Developed as a proof-of-concept framework to monitor the environment at scale, Soc-IoT aims to promote environmental resilience and open innovation by lowering technological barriers.
“A team of scientists from the National Taiwan University, the Technical Universities of Denmark and Munich, and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt has built an open source design for a nanoscale imaging high-speed atomic force microscope (HS-AFM) — buildable for under $4,000.
The version built by Hwu and colleagues comes in at $3,936 in parts. Better yet, it is released under an open-hardware license for all to replicate….”
“OpenFlexure is one of many open science hardware projects that are championed by the Gathering for Open Science Hardware (GOSH), a transnational network of open science hardware advocates. Although there are differences in practice, open hardware projects operate on similar principles to open-source software, and they span disciplines ranging from nanotechnology to environmental monitoring. GOSH defines the field as “any piece of hardware used for scientific investigations that can be obtained, assembled, used, studied, modified, shared, and sold by anyone. It includes standard lab equipment as well as auxiliary materials, such as sensors, biological reagents, analog and digital electronic components.” Compared to an off-the-shelf microscope, which may cost thousands of dollars, an OpenFlexure microscope may cost a few hundred. By being significantly cheaper and easier to maintain, open hardware enables more people in more places to do science.
The academic production of open hardware has increased exponentially in the last five years with the emergence of networks, dedicated publication venues, peer-reviewed literature, and thematic events, all aimed at supporting open science hardware projects. Successful projects have led to greater access to equipment, which increases research efficiency, and have fostered equity and public participation in science. However, open hardware is still the exception in science, and the designs of most research tools remain unavailable to their users, which limits their accessibility and adaptability. Encouraging broader use of open science hardware will require funding agencies, universities, and international organizations to cooperate and incentivize researchers to develop and share hardware designs….”
“Hardware is a vital part of experiments process and advances in instrumentation have been central to scientific revolutions by expanding observations beyond standard human senses.” But making hardware and especially sharing hardware is neither an easy nor a recognized task in academia. In order to tackle this issue, some of us started a Research Data Alliance (RDA) interest group. The RDA is a social platform where international research data experts meet to exchange views and to agree on topical issues. We think the RDA label will bring our work the credibility needed to develop and push our ideas about Research hardware recognition in the scholarly communication ecosystem. On the other hand, we would like to avoid the pitfall of creating a system that would nurture inequalities, and one of our objectives is therefore to grow and diversify the group members and chairs. Here is therefore a call for participation, it is particularly but not uniquely addressed to researchers from low-income countries.
“It’s often said that watchmaking is a cottage industry. This, in the past, has been literally true. The know-how and technical ability to build watch movements has historically been information that has been pretty well guarded, whether we’re talking about 19th century watch and clock makers working out of their home workshops, producing every component themselves, or the mass production of movements and their individual component parts by large corporations, effectively blocking smaller companies from getting a foot in the door except at a great expense. A new project called openmovement is now taking a different approach to movement making by designing simple, open source watch movements that anyone can conceivably use. ”