As the open source hardware community continues to expand, OSHWA is in constant pursuit of new avenues for growth and creative ways to address challenges. The research committee seeks to keep up with this rapidly evolving field by gathering knowledge about emerging needs, practices, and challenges, as well as collaborating with the community to strengthen the practice and devise solutions for problems.


The First OSHW Documentation Jam
The power of open source lies in the ability to build upon others’ work, and good documentation is the key to making this happen. If there are easy mechanisms for viewing and updating open product documentation, products can evolve rapidly under the hands of many contributors. However, several obstacles often stand in the way of contributions and improvements. Recognizing this, OSHWA has partnered with a group of organizations to identify the main challenges faced by open source hardware documentation and host an event to collaboratively devise solutions.

Open Source Technology Transfer
One of the greatest promises of open source hardware is in allowing local production of goods when and where they are needed. However, several obstacles stand between open source solutions and the communities who need them the most: they may not know that these solutions exist, they may not understand the language the plans are described in, they may not have the appropriate hardware/software to download and read the plans, they may not have the tools and materials nor the skills to build the devices.

In order to improve open source technology transfer, OSHWA joined Everywhere Tech, a coalition of individuals and organizations intent on bringing open source solutions to those who need them the most. The project’s mission is to facilitate open source technology transfer by connecting universal open source hardware solutions with real-world needs.

OSHW Community Survey
In February of 2012 OSHWA conducted a survey of the international open source hardware community. It received 2091 responses from 70 countries, which far exceeded our expectations. After the second survey in 2013, it became an annual occurrence in 2020. See results for each year here.

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