For clarity, this was not a grant to fund hardware nor hardware documentation. The call for proposals specified that, as we were interested in the meta layer of sharing what it takes to get open hardware through the university systems through guides, case studies, lit reviews, etc. We will absolutely continue to clarify that point for future awards. The way the word documentation gets used in the open hardware community is almost always ubiquitous to ‘hardware documentation’ (and great job everyone everywhere for documenting your hardware!), but when we are talking about documentation here, we mean boarder documentation about open hardware in academia - not hardware documentation, which again we will work to clarify.
There is still quite a lot of forthcoming work stuck in accepted but not yet published timelines of academic Journals. More will be added as it comes available.
As we said when the call for proposals was released, as our first time granting money, we first wanted to make sure we understood how to do it with proper accounting and university structures with just one currency first (for example, we learned and struggled with “grant” as well as “fellowship” means different things financially at different universities). The geographical constraint was a mechanism to ensure we could responsibly manage these funds. It should be okay to learn something while taking things one step at a time. Our next round will be international, which we also said at the onset of this program.
I will support Leeborg’s personal perspectives here with my own very personal story: When I was first getting into open source in general, I went the open source software route, I tried several languages, but never fit in at any community meetings or online forums. I was asked where my boyfriend was, never called on, and was continuously discounted for being female or a noob. As we’ve seen, it turns out open source software communities as a whole have been quite toxic to underrepresented and marginalized groups - which, to their credit, they are trying to change. I jumped ship to open hardware, a much more inviting community. Ayah and I put on the first Open Hardware Summit and vowed that open source hardware would be a different more inviting community than software.
I don’t speak up often about my own struggles in software for so many reasons, but I have to say, this feels a little similar to open software. So I speak up now because I don’t want this community to be seen as too toxic for new participants to join - that hurts everyone, but especially marginalized and underrepresented folks - AND I want to show people that I’m here for them when they think this community isn’t for them. Be careful with words and tone, they cause imposter syndrome in seconds, though it takes years to fix. The folks who were awarded these grants are on or lurking on these forums as scientists in the open hardware community. Consider that the first welcome they got is someone dissing on hardware for not being open enough when hardware was never the intention of the grant seems rather uninviting and uneducated about what this work intends. I’m not saying there’s no room for critique, but there are ways to ensure your tone is kind and welcoming even when critiquing. You can start with phrases like with I wonder… what if… let’s try… “I wonder if the creator thought of x …” (as a genuine curiosity, not a passive aggressive dig) or a thought exercise of “What if the grant covered y instead of the thing it did cover” or “We’re trying to replicate your thing, but got stuck here, can you help me out?” It is also okay to find someone to uplift. When academics critique all the time, it also creates an unwelcoming community, which is antithetical to openness in it’s own way.
With compassion, Alicia