Towards Open Source Patents

A diagram showing an earlier design of the tool.

These past months I had the pleasure of collaborating with the FAST team from Western University by discussing possible ways to automate the process of applying the OSHWA Certification to open source appropriate technology projects in a way that makes sense for documentarians working on Appropedia.

What is the OSHWA Certification?

Members of the open hardware community have discussed over the years to define open hardware consistently. Some of these efforts are the Open Hardware Definition, a piece that has paved the way for other communities to open their creations. Most importantly, it has helped to clarify cases where products are advertised as open hardware but lack proper documentation or supporting materials.

One of the most important steps in this direction was the OSHWA Certification. This program reviews individual projects to ensure that a project complies with the open hardware definition and some minimum documentation requirements. This certification is done at no cost and is supported by community members.

Automating the certification process

Our research consists of a tool to automate the certification by pulling metadata directly from Appropedia’s API to attain two goals: 1) to ensure that the documentation is complete, aiding the process of fulfilling the requirements of the certification form, and 2) to reduce the time required to request the certification.

Our tool (still under development) can reduce the time used to fill out the certification form by 62%, making this a viable alternative to integrate the documentation work with the certification. Furthermore, it helps documentarians to verify the quality of their knowledge product while facilitating knowledge transfer to others who will know exactly where to find pieces of documentation.

Read the article here.