Economic Savings for Scientific Free and Open Source Technology: A Review
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Pearce Publications: Energy Conservation • Energy Policy • Industrial Symbiosis • Life Cycle Analysis • Materials Science • Open Source • Photovoltaic Systems • Solar Cells • Sustainable Development • Sustainability Education
Source[edit | edit source]
- J.M.Pearce. Economic Savings for Scientific Free and Open Source Technology: A Review. HardwareX 8, 2020, e00139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ohx.2020.e00139 open access
Abstract[edit | edit source]
Both the free and open source software (FOSS) as well as the distributed digital manufacturing of free and open source hardware (FOSH) has shown particular promise among scientists for developing custom scientific tools. Early research found substantial economic savings for these technologies, but as the open source design paradigm has grown by orders of magnitude it is possible that the savings observed in the early work was isolated to special cases. Today there are examples of open source technology for science in the vast majority of disciplines and several resources dedicated specifically to publishing them. Do the tremendous economic savings observed earlier hold today? To answer that question, this study evaluates free and open source technologies in the two repositories compared to proprietary functionally-equivalent tools as a function of their use of Arduino-based electronics, RepRap-class 3-D printing, as well as the combination of the two. The results of the review find overwhelming evidence for a wide range of scientific tools, that open source technologies provide economic savings of 87% compared to equivalent or lesser proprietary tools. These economic savings increased slightly to 89% for those that used Arduino technology and even more to 92% for those that used RepRap-class 3-D printing. Combining both Arduino and 3-D printing the savings averaged 94% for free and open source tools over commercial equivalents. The results provide strong evidence for financial support of open source hardware and software development for the sciences. Given the overwhelming economic advantages of free and open source technologies, it appears financially responsible to divert funding of proprietary scientific tools and their development in favor of FOSH. Policies were outlined that provide nations with a template for strategically harvesting the opportunities provided by the free and open source paradigm.
Keywords:[edit | edit source]
Open Source, Open Source Hardware, Libre Hardware, Business Models, Innovation; Economics of science; Equipment; Research tools; Research expenditures, Free and Open Source, Open Hardware, Free and Open Source Software, Open Science, Open Innovation, RepRap, 3-D printing, customization, open science hardware, OScH, FOSS, FOSH, custom designs, distributed manufacturing, P2P, P2P manufacturing, open design, scientific equipment, open scientific hardware, instrumentation, scientific instruments, science funding, science policy, economics, science finance, science
See also[edit | edit source]
- Sponsored Libre Research Agreements to Create Free and Open Source Software and Hardware
- Life-cycle economic analysis of distributed manufacturing with open-source 3-D printers
- Quantifying the Value of Open Source Hardware Development
- Towards national policy for open source hardware research: The case of Finland
- Open-source, self-replicating 3-D printer factory for small-business manufacturing
- Global value chains from a 3D printing perspective
- Emergence of Home Manufacturing in the Developed World: Return on Investment for Open-Source 3-D Printers
- Emerging Business Models for Open Source Hardware
- From Open Access to Open Science: The Path From Scientific Reality to Open Scientific Communication