Mainstream academia embraces open source hardware

Mainstream academia embraces open source hardware

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.

Elsevier, the largest academic publisher in the world, is publishing HardwareX, a new open access journal to help accelerate the distribution of low-cost, high-quality open source scientific hardware. There is also the Journal of Open Source Hardware published by Ubiquity Press, PLOS One from the Public Library of Science, and numerous titles from MDPI such as Designs, all of which publish free, open access, open source hardware articles.

In 1999, it was challenging for a young, untenured professor to enter the field of open source hardware because it was too immature to potentially offer a high number of citations, as almost no one was working on it. This acted as an artificial barrier that prevented the most aggressive faculty from participating. Instead, the field was led by the old and secure and the idealists.

Today, due to the rate of free and open source hardware papers being published, it is now relatively easy for academics to dedicate their careers to advancing free hardware. These professors can expect to be rewarded with high citation rates from their rapidly growing academic peers.

The payoff for society is a high return on investment for accelerated and improved research and development. Many scientists are already focused on making open source equipment and even creating entirely open source labs. This drives down the cost of science and accelerates development of technology.



Mainstream academia embraces open source hardware
Growth in research citations proves that academics with an interest in open hardware are no longer alone.

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