Openness assessment of 132 open source hardware products

This is the raw data set on which the article "What is the source of open source hardware?" to be published in the Journal of Open Hardware under an open access license is based. The abstract of the article is as follows: "What “open source” means once applied to tangible products has been so far exclusively addressed through the light of licensing. While this approach is adapted for software, it appears to be over-simplistic for complex hardware products. Whether such a product can be labelled as open source is not only a question of license but also a question of documentation, i.e. what is the information that sufficiently describes it? In other words, what is the “source” of open source hardware? To date there is no trivial answer to this question, leaving large room for interpretation in the usage of the term. Based on analysis of public documentation of 132 products, this paper provides an overview of how practitioners tend to interpret the concept of open source hardware. Results empirically confirm the existence of two main usages of the open source principles in the context of tangible products: publication of product-related documentation as a means to support community-based product development and to disseminate privately developed innovations. It also underlines the high variety of interpretations and even misuses of the concept of open source hardware. This reveals in turn that this concept may not even be clear to practitioners and calls for more narrowed down definitions of what has to be shared for a product to be called open source. Results gained by the analysis of current publication practice are summarized in the definition of an open source hardware lifecycle to contribute towards this effort."

open source hardware, open design, open source product development, open innovation, open source innovation, openness
Information and communication technologies

Cite this dataset as:
Bonvoisin, J., 2017. Openness assessment of 132 open source hardware products. Technical University Berlin. Available from:


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Kerstin Carola Schmidt
Data Collector
Technical University Berlin

University of Bath
Rights Holder


Collection date(s):

From 1 March 2016 to 1 April 2017


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

OPEN! Methoden und IT-Werkzeuge zur Community-basierten und Open-Source-Entwicklung von physischen Produkten
STA 1112/13-1

Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

Travail –place de l’homme, organisation des écosystèmes, valeur sociétale (DS0301) 2015 Projet OPEN!

Publication details

Publication date: 6 July 2017
by: Technical University Berlin

Version: 1


URL for this record:

Related papers and books

Bonvoisin, J., Mies, R., Boujut, J.-F., and Stark, R., 2017. What is the “Source” of Open Source Hardware? Journal of Open Hardware, 1(1). Available from:

Contact information

Please contact the Research Data Service in the first instance for all matters concerning this item.

Contact person: Jeremy Bonvoisin


Faculty of Engineering & Design
Mechanical Engineering