Focus and Scope
The Journal of Open Hardware (JOH) is an international open access peer reviewed academic publication for open hardware research and development. JOH accepts submissions which cover technical, legal, scientific, educational, economic, and sociocultural aspects of hardware design, fabrication, and distribution. We invite submissions from various fields, such as (but not limited to) human-machine interaction, biotechnology, engineering, physics, computer science, humanities and social sciences, among others.
The journal’s primary goal is to bridge academic fields which contribute to open practices of design, manufacture, and dissemination of hardware, as well as the multiple dynamics that shape these processes. We make this possible with a transdisciplinary editorial board and different article types. We help authors achieve best community standards of openness and preservation with our guidelines and constructive peer review by the Open Science Hardware community. We are the only journal to review hardware documentation alongside manuscripts and to ensure that projects are not only replicable, but also modifiable, which is at the heart of the open source principle and its potential to drive innovation.
JOH is organized around the same principles guiding Free and Open Source development and Open Access publishing. We prioritize the exchange of knowledge by creating the conditions for the study, modification, redistribution and use of hardware designs for any purpose. To foster our mission, we ensure our publications include Open research data, Free and Open Source software, and fully documented hardware which are accessible, searchable, interoperable, and reusable. As editors and contributors, we are committed to the principles of libre technologies, such as Free Software, gateway, wetware, materials and hardware. Our aim is to help create a culture of hardware sharing in the sciences, while advancing the collaborative development and dissemination of Open Hardware within and beyond academia.
Papers accepted by the Journal of Open Hardware contain an element of novelty, in other words a potential added-value to future experiments or collaboration by readers, or which solve scientific and societal problems. We encourage submissions which enable future Open Source contributions. Republication of hardware (for example a new version) is acceptable if there is sufficient novelty from addition of new insights or improvements. If you have doubts about the suitability of your work, please, get in touch with the editors.
Submissions have to comply with the OSHWA definition. Source files must be under an open hardware license that permits others to study, modify, distribute, make, and sell your hardware. You can find more information on licencing options in the submissions section of our website. For some article types, you are required to provide a documentation of the hardware involved in a suitable repository. While the reviewers of your submission mainly assess the accuracy and quality of the metadata rather than the documentation, there will be a minimum level of quality check on the referred-to documentation. This ensures that publication requirements are met. You can also read about the documentation criteria in the submissions section.
The journal is published online as a continuous volume and issue throughout the year. Articles are made available as soon as they are ready to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in getting content publically available.
Special collections of articles are welcomed and will be published as part of the normal issue, but also within a separate collection page.
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. There is no embargo on the journal’s publications. Submission and acceptance dates, along with publication dates, are made available on the PDF format for each paper.
Authors of articles published remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to the Creative Commons license agreement.
Authors are encouraged to publish their data in recommended repositories. For a list of generic and subject specific repositories that meet our peer review criteria, see here.
The journal’s publisher, Ubiquity Press, focuses on making content discoverable and accessible through indexing services. Content is also archived around the world to ensure long-term availability.
The Journal of Open Hardware is indexed by the following services:
Chronos, Center for Open Science, OpenAIRE, ExLibris, Journal TOCs, CrossRef, JISC KB+, SHERPA RoMEO, Cengage Learning/Gale and Google Scholar. In addition, content is available for harvesting via OAI-PMH.
If the journal is not indexed by your preferred service, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively by making an indexing request directly with the service.
Annotation and post-publication comment
The journal platform permits readers to leave comments on the publication page, via the Disqus service. Readers will need a Disqus account to leave comments. Comments may be moderated by the journal, however, if they are non-offensive and relevant to the publication subject, comments will remain online without edit.
The journal platform also includes in-browser annotation and text highlighting options on full text formats via hypothes.is. Readers will require a hypothes.is account to create annotations, and will have the option to make these publicly available, available to a group, or private.
A list of repositories that meet our peer-review requirements and are recommended for the archiving of Journal of Open Hardware (JOH) hardware files is maintained below. Please contact us if you would like to recommend that we add a particular repository to our list.
The files of the hardware described in your metapaper or full length article (if it is a project of our authorship) must be placed in a publicly accessible repository. There are two main types of repository which have slightly different purposes:
- A versioned repository holds many versions of the files as they are being developed
- A preservation or institutional repository will preserve a set of files deposited for the long term
We require that the version of files described in your publication is available in at least one repository that satisfies the criteria below. Ideally the files will be available through both types of repository. A good versioned repository for hardware files should:
- Allow the deposit of files under a suitable open licence
- Provide a unique, persistent identifier which references a particular version of the source code or files (example: you might want to refer to a particular “state” of your repository tree)
- Has a published backup policy and terms of service that do not allow deletion without warning
- Have a sound sustainability model
- Allows you to add your publication DOI to the repository after publication
A good preservation repository for hardware files should:
- Allow the deposit of files under the correct open licence
- Provide a unique, persistent identifier (e.g. a DOI) which references the deposited files
- Have a published preservation strategy that guarantees long term preservation
Focus and suitability: DocuBricks takes hardware documentations from all scientific areas. Documentations can only be submitted in their own XML-based submission format, which is created with their offline editor software and into which design files and software are embedded. It is suitable for projects that do not require specialised curation. This web service has been created by one of our editors, Tobias Wenzel with crucial input from other Open hardware creators and editors from our Journal and the wider community.
Justification: In conjunction with the DocuBricks editor software, the platform allows for open hardware-specific documentation in a standardised format which is comfortable to review. Furthermore, the documentations tend to be high in quality, as the software encourages the user to document a project modularly along its functionality. It is also free of cost and free as in “software freedom”.
Licenses: Currently supported licenses include: CC-BY 3.0, CERN OHL, TAPR OHL, MIT licence and many software specific licenses.
Persistent Identifiers supported: DOI.
Sustainability: DocuBricks is an independent initiative run by academics with support from OpenPlant collaboration at University of Cambridge. It is mainly volunteer-based with the mission to keep the content completely open and free to support the Global Open Science Hardware movement with documentation infrastructure.
Deposit instructions: To deposit a documentation associated with a JOH hardware paper in DocuBricks, please follow these steps:
- Download the editor software from the DocuBricks page (http://docubricks.com/software.jsp). This requires no installation but you need Java running on your machine. Fill in the information for parts in the Bill of Materials (BOM), as well as bricks (abstract modular project components) with their functionality, implementation and instructions. Drag and drop in media files such as images, videos, design files (for associated parts in the BOM or as separate brick) and software (also part of the BOM or separate brick).
- Register at “docubricks.com”.
- Upload your documentation as ZIP folder containing the DocuBricks-XML file and your project files and media. The project files folder is automatically created by the editor the first time you save the project to a new location.
- Check that your deposit also conforms with JOH requirements.
- When the files have been made public on the DocuBricks site, they are assigned a permanent link, but a DOI can also be requested from DocuBricks. Please enter this (DOI prefered) in your JOH paper under Repository Location.
- Once your JOH paper has passed peer review and been published, please add the reference and DOI to the Descriptionfield in DocuBricks.
Focus and suitability: GitHub provides a more developer-focussed environment (as opposed to a project-focussed one). It is developing a strong following among Free and Open Source developers and members of the scientific computing community.
Cost: Free accounts can have as many public repos as you'd like, with unlimited collaboration (details).
Licenses: User-defined with automatic inclusion of common Open Source software licenses in different versions (BSD, MIT, GPL, Apache, etc.).
Identifiers used: URL
Sustainability: GitHub is currently the largest code host in the world. Like any other Internet company, its future is uncertain.
Deposit instructions: To deposit firmware or any other piece of code in GitHub, please follow these steps:
- Create a GitHub repository and upload your code.
- Check that your deposit also conforms with JOH requirements.
- When the software and design files have been made public on the GitHub site, it will be assigned a URI. Please enter this URI (a URL) under Code Repository Location of our hardware metapaper. Do not forget to use the hash of
- Once your JOH paper has passed peer review and been published, please add the DOI of the paper to the information about the code in GitHub.
Focus and suitability: Figshare takes software from all subject areas, and is suitable for small to medium sized projects that do not require specialised curation. This is the option for authors who do not have academic affiliation (in contrast to ArXiv).
Cost: Free, including “unlimited” public space and 1 GB of private storage.
Identifiers used: Handle
Sustainability: According to their website: "Figshare is an independent body that receives support fromDigital Science. 'Digital Science's relationship with figshare represents the first of its kind in the company's history: a community- based, open science project that will retain its autonomy whilst receiving support from the division."
Deposit instructions: To deposit hardware documentation on Figshare, please follow these steps:
- Create an account.
- Upload your documentation as either a fileset (most appropriate if you have multiple files for different parts of our hardware project).
- Check that your deposit also conforms with JOH requirements.
- When the files have been made public on the Figshare site, they will be assigned a handle identifier. Please enter this in your JOH paper under Repository Location.
- Once your JOH paper has passed peer review and been published, please add the reference to the description field in figshare, and add the JOH DOI to the links also.
Recommendations for Software
For software, if not included in the hardware repository, we follow the recommendations of our sister journal, the Journal of Open Research Software published by Ubiquity Press.
The journal only displays advertisements that are of relevance to its scope and will be of interest to the readership (e.g. upcoming conferences). All advertising space is provided free of charge and the editor and publisher have the right to decline or withdraw adverts at any point. Adverts will include a text heading to make it clear that they are adverts not related to the journal.
If you wish to propose a potential advert then please contact the editorial team. All advert images will have to be provided to the publisher.