[open-science] Global Open Science Hardware Roadmap

Jenny Molloy jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com
Sat Jan 27 13:24:58 UTC 2018

Dear All

The Global Open Science Hardware community has recently published a Roadmap
which lays out what we think needs to happen to make open science hardware
ubiquitous by 2025.

Do take a look!


Launching a revolution in access to scientific tools

A global community from 30 countries calls for open sharing of scientific

Over 100 researchers, engineers, educators, entrepreneurs and community
organizers from 30 countries have published a report
describing the steps for providing global access to scientific hardware by
2025 through open source designs, collaborative research and new
manufacturing techniques, including 3D-printing.

The group, who convened at CERN in Geneva and at the Pontificia Universidad
Católica de Chile in Santiago in 2017 during meetings supported by the Alfred
P. Sloan Foundation <https://sloan.org/>, argue that too few people have
access to the tools needed to perform science, particularly researchers in
developing countries and communities wanting to gather and analyze data
about their own environment. From microscopes to microfluidics and water
quality test equipment, they are part of a growing movement to share
designs for scientific hardware openly online that anyone is freely able to
use, modify and even commercialize. They claim this could drastically
reduce the costs of research while enabling people to collaborate and learn
in new ways. "Our project is sustained by the shared goal of creating
common knowledge through direct public participation in science and
technology. Not from the detached criticism but practical engagement"
suggests one of the authors, Dr Luis Felipe R. Murillo from the "Institut
Francilien Recherche, Innovation et Société" in France.

The authors of the ‘Global Open Science Hardware Roadmap
<http://openhardware.science/global-open-science-hardware-roadmap/>’ lay
out the steps they think are needed to help their community move forward,
including greater institutional support from universities, funders and
governments who often prefer inventors to patent their hardware. Report
contributor Dr Max Liboiron published an academic paper
<http://estsjournal.org/article/view/126> about her attempts to ensure her
low-cost device for sampling marine microplastic pollution was freely
accessible to the Indigenous populations she works with in northeast
Canada. Several others make the case that open sharing is compatible with
selling products and could in fact bring new opportunities for
entrepreneurs. Jorge Appiah, an engineer and innovator who founded the Kumasi
Hive <http://kumasihive.com/> makerspace in Ghana, believes that open
sharing reduces the cost of entrepreneurship in an African context and
allows “rapid scaling of impact solutions through location innovation,
application innovation, and incremental innovation”. This is supported by
over fifteen startup companies who are successfully producing open hardware
for science.

The report also tackles the need to ensure quality control and standards
compliance, particularly to help reproducibility of science, which has been
a major concern in recent years. Licensing, high-quality documentation and
the social and ethical aspects of scientific work are also considered:
“Scientific tools are not esoteric and boring pieces of technology that
have no connection to our daily lives. Who can use them, how they’re used
and the results they provide can affect progress in developing new
medicines, responses to environmental disasters and educating the next
generation of scientists and technologists: so we have to take a wider
view” explained author Dr Jenny Molloy from the University of Cambridge.

Communities that use and develop open hardware are broader than one might
expect. The report features academic projects such as "White Rabbit
<https://www.ohwr.org/projects/white-rabbit/>", an open hardware technology
developed at CERN <https://home.cern/> that has the difficult job of
ensuring sub-nanosecond accuracy in data transfers for the Large Hadron
Collider (LHC) and the OpenFlexure Scope,
<https://github.com/rwb27/openflexure_microscope> a 3D-printed microscope
using a cheap Raspberry Pi camera that has recently received major funding
from the UK government’s "Global Challenges Research Fund".

Open science hardware is also built and used by the public in community
science projects: "Rede InfoAmazonia <http://rede.infoamazonia.org/>" works
within a network of Brazilian communities to build drinking water quality
sensors and send contamination alerts via SMS, while projects like
EnviroMap and UTBiome
<http://crwr-utbiome.austin.utexas.edu/utb_webapp/utbiomehome.html> map
microbial ecology and environmental data with local communities in Austin,
Texas. Public Lab <https://publiclab.org/>, a US non-profit, convened
citizens to map the "Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill" in 2010 and continues to
work with local communities around the world who are affected by industrial
pollution using low-cost, open-source kits that are improved by volunteers.

There are ongoing efforts to spread the benefits of open hardware
globally. TReND
Africa <http://trendinafrica.org/>, for example, have led workshops
teaching over 24 African scientists how to build their own 3D-printers and
lab equipment at as little as 1% of the cost of commercial alternatives and
achieve control over how they design their experiments. Activity in Africa
looks set to increase with the first Africa Open Science and Hardware Summit
<http://www.africaosh.com/> due to take place in Ghana in April 2018 “OScH
is a powerful tool to reduce the gap between theory and practice in African
Higher Education but we should be careful about the neocolonialism driven
by technology” reflects co-organiser and report author Thomas Herve Mboa
Nkoudou, who is President of the Association for the Promotion of Open
Science in Haiti and Africa (APSOHA <http://www.projetsoha.org/>).

After issuing this call for support, the group is planning to move forward
their plans for scaling both the community and the reach of open hardware
distribution at the Gathering for Open Science Hardware 2018 in Shenzhen,
China which is a UNESCO Creative City and has been described as the
“Silicon Valley for hardware”.

Notes to editor:

For more information, contact Shannon Dosemagen, Luis Felipe Murillo, Jenny
Molloy and Rafael Peretti Pezzi via roadmap at openhardware.science

The GOSH Roadmap is available at: http://openhardware.science/gl

A folder of images for press use is available here:
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