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Open.Make - Towards open and FAIR Hardware


BUA-Förderkennzeichen: 312_OpenCall_4.

Gefördert im Rahmen der Exzellenzstrategie von Bund und Ländern

01.09.2021 — 31.08.2023
Berlin University Alliance

Berlin University Alliance

Open access publishing, open data and free and open source software have become important pillars of responsible research and innovation (RRI), an approach that wants to maximise the integrity and impact of research. Presently, a new school of thought is emerging which aims to establish an open hardware (OH) strategy for academia. OH is extending the principles of free and open source from software into physical products, enabling hardware reuse and quality control. It also fills a gap in the promotion of FAIR data principles (seeking to make data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) by German and European funding agencies.

This project will contribute to this mission through new methods, tools, guidance, standards and awareness building, in order to evaluate and preserve the replicability of hardware in academia. We will pool expertise in hardware evaluation at the TUB, academic hardware making at the FUB and scholarly communication and data management at the HUB. Solutions will be designed according to our analysis of community practices. They will be prototyped and verified within chosen hardware projects of the partners in the fields of automation, physical metrology and virtual reality applications. Lessons learned during the project will feed open educational resources (OER).

The importance of OH for society has been well demonstrated during the first wave of COVID- 19 when open hardware makers started to deliver 3D-printed face shields to medical professionals in a time of great need. Our cross-disciplinary and practice-oriented approach will act as a centre of competence in the Berlin University Alliance for the development of novel standards and tools for open hardware documentation, evaluation and publication. Open, FAIR hardware especially presents an opportunity for new career paths and an alternative to traditional intellectual property rights (IPR) practices, reflecting the wider role of academic research in society.