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Type Paper
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Joshua M. Pearce, "Open Source Research in Sustainability", Sustainability: the Journal of Record, 5(4), pp. 238-243, 2012. DOI free and open access

Most academics, who as researchers and teachers dedicate their lives to information sharing, would likely agree with much of the hacker ethic, which is a belief that information-sharing is a powerful positive good and there is an ethical duty to share expertise by writing free and open-source code and facilitating access to information wherever possible. However, despite a well-established gift culture similar to that of the open source software movement in academic publishing and the tenure process many academics fail to openly provide the "source" (e.g. data sets, literature reviews, detailed experimental methodologies, designs, and open access to results) of their research. Closed research is particularly egregious when it could be used to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world and this transition is hobbled by antiquated research methodologies that slow the diffusion of innovation. To overcome this challenge, this paper reports on several experiments to embrace the use of open source methodologies in research for applied sustainability. Open-access and open-edit Internet technologies were used as both real-time research tools and a means of disseminating findings on appropriate technology and sustainability-related research to the broadest possible audience. The results of experiments on open source research found that more rapid deployment of sustainability technologies is possible by building on the foundations of the hacker ethic with i) massive peer-review in the development of background material and experimental design, ii) increased visibility, which leads to iii) increased funding opportunities and improved student recruitment, and iv) improved student research-related training and education.

Open Source Research

This paper showed how academics can benefit by using Appropedia to do open source research in sustainability.

Annotations to navigate the video

  • 0:08 What hackers can teach academics: Open source research in photovoltaics
  • 0:33 Outline
  • 1:16 Hacker background
  • 4:10 Why open source?
  • 7:23 The hacker ethic
  • 8:52 Open source appropriate technology
  • 10:08 Why Appropedia?
  • 10:42 Using Appropedia for research
  • 11:45 Literature review
  • 13:45 Protocols/methods in open source
  • 15:59 2015 research project pages
  • 17:21 Show and tell
  • 18:41 Real-time research The RecycleBot
  • 19:36 Appropedia results/outreach
  • 21:35 Results of open research experiments
  • 23:58 Open access to data
  • 24:41 Massive exposure than a normal academic article thanks to Appropedia
  • 27:44 Leads to funding
  • 32:21 Conclusions

Methods[edit | edit source]

To recreate the quantification of page views on Appropedia you can use this page view counter: Apprount

To see examples of our "live" open-source research see:

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 4 pages link here
Impact 328 page views
Created August 16, 2012 by Joshua M. Pearce
Modified April 13, 2023 by Felipe Schenone
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