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Editorial Policies

Peer Review Process

General Criteria

Peer review is the academic quality control process used to assess a manuscript before publication. It is based on experts/scientists close to the field of the publication, called referees, who assess at the publication draft according to the below criteria. The process can be iterative and aims to improve the quality of the manuscript.

To be accepted for publication, articles must satisfy the following criteria:

  • Descriptions and results reported have not been published in another journal, book or conference procedure;
  • The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English without jargon;
  • The article adheres to our openness criteria;
  • Where applicable, the research meets all standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity. The appropriate standards must be referred to in the publication with explanation why this particular standard was chosen;
  • Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data;
  • Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed correctly and are described in sufficient detail alongside all the supporting code and data (respectively licenses as Free Software and Open Data).

The journal operates a ‘double-blind’ peer review process, meaning that authors and reviewers remain anonymous for the review process.

Articles, Reviews and Metapapers

Three general principles guide the reviewing process at the Journal of Open Hardware:

1. All contributions must meet the criteria of novelty and openness according to our editorial guidelines: hardware projects must be compliant with the OSHW definition; additional software must be licensed (whenever possible) under OSI-approved licenses; and all the data discussed in the paper must be also provided in raw form and made publicly accessible according with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable).

2. For the specific case of Hardware Metapapers, reviews are focused on the accuracy and quality of the metadata rather than the hardware documentation per se, however there will be a (considerably high) level of quality of documentation required so that it is possible to review the project. The documentation assessment is guided by a checklist the editorial committee provides. We expect all metapapers to be able to pass after revisions, unless the hardware is extremely difficult to reuse and/or not sufficiently open and available as defined above and in the author guide.

3. In addition to openness, we have another important criterion: the benefit the hardware or method provides has to be something else than solely cost reduction. This policy aims to avoid the confusion of identifying Open Hardware projects with questions of market price which would distract potential users and contributors from other benefits.

After submission and initial screening, the contributed article, review, or metapaper is sent to two independent reviewers from our editorial board and their extended academic and professional networks. Each reviewer will attempt to access the hardware documentation and download the build-files based on the information in the submitted paper, following these steps:

1) Assessing the openness, novelty, and importance of the contribution to advance Open Hardware projects
2) Checking if the information in the article or metapaper is sufficient and correct, in particular with respect to the contributors, license, and limitations

Reviews are compared to provide a decision (accept, accept after minor revisions, re-review after major revisions, reject) and a checklist of revisions and suggestions are sent to the author, along with the reviews. Reviewers have the choice of signing their reviews or not.

You can also upload additional files containing further comments relevant to the review if you wish.

Competing interests

You should not accept a review assignment if you have a potential competing interest, including the following:

  • Prior or current collaborations with the author(s);
  • You are a direct competitor;
  • You may have a known history of antipathy with the author(s);
  • You might profit financially from the work;

Please inform the editors or journal staff and recuse to review if you feel that you are unable to offer an impartial review. When submitting your review, you must indicate whether or not you have any competing interests.

Bear in mind that many contributors to our Journal are enthusiasts of Free and Open Source technologies and junior researchers who happen to be, in many cases, first-time contributors to peer-reviewed publications. Your goal as a reviewer must be to encourage the authors to bring the paper to an excellent quality, re-wording and re-working whatever passages you see fit to improve the overall quality of the submission. Provide detail explanations and academic references where you see fit, and help the authors maximize their potential for contributing, at once, to the Open Hardware community and to the academic research on Open Source technologies.


Section Policies

Hardware Metapapers

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

Issues in Open Hardware

  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed


  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed


  • Open Submissions
  • Indexed
  • Peer Reviewed

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