Work in progress - No1

| May 23, 2022

20022-05-13 “PI meeting”

We had our first progress report with the lab heads Profs. Larkum, Jochem, and Lindgraf. We used a two hours window to present the new team members, as well as our progresses, successes and failures. We are now sharing these with all of you. We hope you will enjoy this summary of our presentations and discussions.


We started by using some extract of the interviews to illustrate the main issues we tackle, that is the discrepancy between :

  • (1) the importance of open source hardware for science and society, and
  • (2) the absence of personal incentives for the creation of documentation required.

In order to design an hardware publication platform, we want to look at current practices and tools to set the practicality of the tool. In addition, we want to define the theoretical objectives that the community would see fulfill. By addressin community wishes, we are also engaging with this community, preparing outreach activities for our outputs.

Research: interviews and ethnographic study

We presented the preparatory work done in order to organize interviews and ethnographic studies, which will help us understand the current (best) practice in hardware documentation and sharing. We plan to do this by researching (1) what people say about their work, and (2) how they work.


  • Two test interviews were run (blog posts will probably follow)
  • The list of questions was finalized.
  • A list of project was created and a subset were chosen.
  • For this short-list, researchers were contacted.

Ethnographic study:

  • Two methods tested on Moritz workflow (daily lab journal versus intermittent work diary)
  • Time intensive job for the researcher
  • Starting to contact external researchers

Outreach: community building and the RDA

We thrived the creation of a RDA group about OSH and the definition of FAIR hardware:

With this work, we are trying to build a community around the definition of good practices for research hardware development and publication. The charter of the group is in revision, while the group is already working on the definition of research hardware. By chairing this group, open make is actively participating in this effort.

We are very grateful for all the connections we achieved through the RDA group, and are confident that the work done inside the RDA will have a large repercussion on the research hardware ecosystem, as well as in the industry and its legislation.


Our next meeting will be in September/october this year. Until then, we need to continue our work to get the first analyses of the interviews and some insights into FAIR definitions for hardware. This will allow us to discuss our next steps, especially the hardare publication platform and a guidance system for researchers (book, choice software,…). In addition, that meeting will see discussion about the creation of follow up projects.

Progress since then

Since we took some time preparing and publishing this blog post, one month passed and we made some extra progresses:

  • We have now conducted 6 interviews, and their analysis is in progress.
  • The RDA group has been presented during the RDA plenary session. A fruitful discussion about the different and numerous stakeholders was conducted.

banner image credit: Progress by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0