So one note on the “encouraging” bit (and I should have been more clear): Even though HardwareX has opened up this great avenue for encouraging and working with OSHWA for certification, I don’t think the wording on HardwareX page sounds too encouraging for people to want and certify their designs (but maybe this is just me and English as a second language). This is why I initially mentioned that I would like to see a bit more than “encouragement” for adopting OSHWA.
Now thinking about what you wrote @julianstirling: I think when we are thinking about “broad contexts” enforcing things can have the exact effects that you mention, that is, pushing people away.
However in this specific academic journal context I think adding the certification as a requirement and not a suggestion would solve so many problems! There are so many articles coming out claiming to be open design but they only share what you mention, a couple of PDF of PCBs, STLs and that is it. This leads to so many long discussions and review time being wasted on making sure the “open” design is actually open.
The OSHWA certification actually requires editable files to be shared and the proper licenses to be in place among other things. Considering that the check of the projects is made by OSHWA in order to certify them or not, I consider it (without trying to sound like an a""hole) free labour for the academic journals and the community in general (as a reviewer, if I did not have to spend so much time telling people over and over again to properly open their designs (and really what they present sometimes is not even trying to be open), I would be so happy. This has happened in all journals I had to review for already (elife, PLoS, HardwareX, IEEE, and surprisingly JOH)).
I disagree that adopting it would be a race to the bottom. I think a lot of clever people at OSHWA, have spent a considerable amount of time figuring out what a good certification would look like (of course, as all things, there is space for improvement). I mean it works for all these other projects that are outside academia. Why should it not work for academic papers?
About adopting DIN standard, I think we could strive for that, but from what I heard by Martin and the other folks working on the creation and implementation of DIN is that it is certainly more time consuming to conform with DIN than it is with OSHWA certification…