Open Plant Science

A group in Munich has started a website on open source initiatives for plant sciences. They are inviting people to contribute, see their message below:

**Hello to everybody!

I want to welcome all fellow scientist, maker, open source enthusiast and everybody else who registered for this EMail List so far. We are proud to present to you our web page we just launched some days ago!

So, what was actually the intention when we decided to start a website?
First of all, we want to motivate you to do your own thing! It’s easier than you think it is! Take a look at our projects. You will see that you can easily combine your job as a scientist with a fun DIY project which might also help you to do your job!
By the way, most scientific instruments might seem to be high-tech and complicated, but in fact, they are quite simple, and it is easy to create a custom build by yourself. And we promise you that you will understand the instrument much better than before and you can look into the black box which used to just spit out values for you!

In the spirit of open science, we also want to motivate non-scientific people to do observation experiments on their own and thereby contribute to the scientific community. We are not talking about experiments for which you need a lab but for example phenotyping plant diseases and monitoring their spread. Unfortunately, these kind of citizen science projects are still in development, and their outcome is questioned a lot. By providing open hardware projects which are created in a scientific environment, we want to contribute to a positive development of citizen science projects in plant sciences.

And here we are now! The website is online but still a bit empty. We are working hard to upload our projects and link other open source projects in plant sciences, but this will take a while to do. If you have read the paragraph above you might think that this sounds a bit too ambitious for some dreamy scientists who are probably just stuck with their main projects.

Maybe you are right! But in the case you are not, we have now the opportunity to create something special which might even influence plant sciences. Might it be successful or not. For now, it is fun for us, and as long it is like that, we can’t loose.

Nevertheless, I hope you like what we are trying to do and support us! We will keep you updated on our progress!
Feel free to contact us and send us feedback or content suggestions!

All the best,


Thanks for forwarding this @amchagas! It’s great to hear about more people for the cause.

This website seems to have a lot of overlap with other large initiatives that have been running for a while. If you have the right contact to Munich, it might be worthwhile connecting them especially with the Open Plant initiative here in the UK and related activities:


Hi @Tobey, thanks for sending these! I already forwarded to them, and told them again to join the Forum! :slight_smile:


Well I finally made it here!

We created somewhat as a part of our SFB924 (special research cooperation funded by the german research community) activity because we wanted to motivate our fellow PhD students to engage with open science (hardware). I actually got to know only after we developed the website idea. We initially were looking for a platform of plant open source (science) hardware projects and looking back I actually don’t understand why we didn’t stumble over OpenPlant earlier. But this was the first year of my PhD and nobody at my chair (or department) has any idea of this kind of things.

We also planned it to be more a blog type of website but unfortunately I am quite alone with at the moment because initial excitement of our PhD students disappeared quite quickly. For now I am just using mainly to host some thing of my personal projects because I got a bit disappointed. Seems like first attempt to establish a community at our department failed a bit but I will give it another try!

But I am open for any input from you and would be happy to connect with OpenPlant!


Hi @vektor,
Nice to (finally :stuck_out_tongue: ) see you here, welcome to the GOSH forum!!
Talk to @gbathree, who is involved with the project. Maybe something to add to openplant science?

Also about being alone on the website project, I would suggest, if you find time, to start writing about projects from other people… You know, “if you build it, they will come” sort of approach :slight_smile: It helped for openeuroscience, and once there was a certain amount of projects listed, people started contributing and at the very least, sending in suggestions of projects to be listed there…


Hey, sorry I missed this, should have responded before. Certainly PhotosynQ is a fit, but we’re working on a pile of new stuff that’s relevant that I’d love to put up there.

We want to make a bunch of hello worlds using other equipment (simple stuff from soil moisture like everyone does, to more complex stuff), and this would be a fun place to put those examples. I’ll talk to my partner who’s the web guy and get his thoughts.

I’m going to put this on my list, and in the next few weeks as we get our hello worlds up and running I’ll see about putting them on. Thanks Andre!

Hey Andre and @gbathree,

Thanks Andre, let’s see how well the symposium goes and what people make out of it. I was mainly talking about the people you met at our retreat because there is actually a lot of change going on at our campus. But not in plant sciences :wink: I started some things with our zoology (and neurology) chair because we wrote a proposal together and got an UMO3 and a 3D scanner!!

And also thanks to @Tobey for all the links!

@gbathree you are always welcome if you want to put some things on, just let me know!
During the holidays i might restructure the website a bit and link some other websites and I would include yours for example. Also if you need help testing or developing some things let me know!

A friend and I are working on an easy-to-build PAR sensor. Do you already have like this in your repertoire ?


Cool - will definitely post things there as we go.

We built a low-cost PAR sensor as part of the MultispeQ ( I can share with you all the parts and structure needed to do it. Total cost is <$6, and it calibrates quite well. The tricky part is doing an effective calibration around a wide range of lighting conditions so it works with room, outdoor, cloudy, canopy light. Easiest is probably to have a Hangout and I’ll give you the details. If you’re planning it, please talk to me first, I can probably save you a lot of time and I would love if someone made a standalone PAR sensor that was super cheap!!! I’m out of PhotosynQ and the MultispeQ has lots of other features that jack up the price.

You can link in our site - it’s . We’ll be putting our hello world and links to the software work we’ve done there soon as well.


Well a friend in Norway already build the sensor and already tested it succesfully! It is standalone and works quite well as far as I know. For now we focus on further tests and writing building instructions if everything works fine!

But we could have a hangout anyways! You probably have some things in mind we never thought about.

Concerning the price. What would be super cheap for you? It will be definitely <$10

Yep, should be able to do it for under 10 dollars. The key is calibrating it under a variety of conditions. It’s literally impossible to get the exact correct set of filters, but you can calibrate it under a variety of conditions to get it as close as possible. We calibrated to a LiCOR which is kind of the industry standard. I’ve toured their facilities and they are pretty anal :slight_smile:

Let’s catch up, I’ll message you.


Very interesting idea to make a standalone PAR sensor.
We often use artificial light sources and there is always a problem with the definition of photons m-2 * s-1 in the labs.
I know that MultyspeQ does it, but will be great have the autonomic device.
Where to begin?

I followed up with them and broke down the parts in the MultispeQ sensor. The harder part than the physical design is the calibration, but it’s all doable.

We are about to finish a first prototype soon, hopefully, and then we have to tackle the calibration :slight_smile: