HardwareX

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How to Open Source Your Academic Work in 7 Steps

Open source technology and academia are the perfect match. Find out how to meet tenure requirements while benefiting the whole community. Academic work fits nicely into the open source ethos: The higher the value of what you give away, the greater your academic prestige and earnings. Professors accomplish this by sharing their best ideas for free in journal articles in peer-reviewed literature. This is our currency, without a strong publishing record not only would our ability to progress in our careers degrade, but even our jobs could be lost (and the ability to get any other job). The following seven steps provide the best practices for making an academic's work open source...

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Mainstream Academia Embraces Open Source Hardware

Twenty years ago, even staunch proponents of free and open source software like Richard Stallman questioned the social imperative for free hardware designs. Academics had barely started to consider the concept; the number of papers coming out annually on the topic were less than could be counted on someone's fingers. Not anymore! Not only has the ethical authority of Stallman embraced free hardware and free hardware design, but so has the academic community. Consider the graph below, which shows the number of articles on open source hardware indexed by Google Scholar each year from 2000 to 2017. In the last 17 years, the concept of open source hardware has erupted in ivory towers throughout the world. Now more than 1,000 articles are written on the topic every year.

Michigan Tech Engineering Team Joins Open Source Ventilator Movement

Press Release | Michigan Technological University | March 20, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the research community is looking for solutions. In addition to work on vaccines and medicine, medical technology is needed. In severe cases of COVID-19, the disease attacks the respiratory system, and one of the major bottlenecks in treatment is having enough ventilators. The open-source hardware community wants to change that. Joshua Pearce...an open-source hardware expert and co-editor-in-chief of HardwareX [explained] that 3D-printed lab hardware and other open-source tech can be cost-effective and encourages design improvement. "Even complex medical devices are not outside the realm of possibility anymore."

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Open Source Tools Provide An Economic Advantage For Science

Free and open source software (FOSS) and the distributed digital manufacturing of free and open source hardware (FOSH) have shown great promise for developing custom scientific tools. For some time now, FOSH has provided scientists a high return on investment. In fact, my previous research in the Open Source Labreported substantial economic savings from using these technologies. However, the open source design paradigm has since grown by orders of magnitude; now, there are examples of open source technology for science in the vast majority of disciplines, and several resources, including the Journal of Open Hardware, are dedicated to publishing them.

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