Why DocuBricks?

We feel that the available tools were not sufficient to enable sharing useful open source hardware projects that integrate different types of components. These projects should be documented in a modular fashion where it is easy to assess how the project solves a problem, whether the information is complete and if calibration strategies etc. are given. We also want to provide a database for scientists who would like to cite the documentation and files in a publication as well as demonstrate the community impact of each module (= important bricks) of their work (these features are coming soon). Is it not a shame for the openness of science, that experiment setups are rarely published? At the same time, scientists miss out on demonstrating the impact of these aspects of their work. Companies are also welcome to use the database and increase the visibility of their open source products in comparison to hosting the instructions on their own page. We would like to see more projects and companies providing open source hardware solutions!

If you think your project is not the right fit for this documentation tool or this repository, have a look at other repositories listed on our resources page.

Do I have to upload my project in the DocuBricks format?

Yes. You may upload a different preliminary file but it will only become searchable and citable by DOI once the DocuBricks documentation is online. Please only make use of this in exceptions and when you intend to correct the format very soon. We insist on our format not only due to our database structure, but it makes it easier for the community to see that your project is complete and makes your sub-bricks re-usable – which in turn enables us to help you demonstrate the community impact of your project better.

Modularity - How to find an appropriate Brick structure for my project?

The following questions might help you in identifying appropriate sub-bricks: What parts of the hardware could be used as a component of another project or a variation of this hardware? What solutions do you find most noteworthy given your experiences during the design iterations? What separate actions does the hardware perform?

I want to reference my project elsewhere. How do I know the link will always work?

We solve this important question with the standard procedure in scientific literature: You can apply for a free Digital Object Identifier (DOI) with us, which is a short link that is curated by the International DOI Foundation (IDF) Following this link, you will find your project on our page, but if we should ever have to shut down, we will (in fact: have to) make sure that your DOI is automatically redirected to a new place in the internet, where your project can still be found.

How do I choose the right licence?

Open source hardware (OSH) licences are still new and most likely not perfect. We provide you with a choice of preselected licences (no guarantee of successful use) that fulfil the open source hardware definition such as the CERN Open Hardware Licence Most importantly, OSH licences must allow commercial use, because hardware does not come for free and it is not possible to distribute it for free in contrast to free and open source software. Here is a nice article explaining the benefits of free-for-commercial-use licences. From our pre-selection, you mainly have the choice between share-alike licences, where modifications of your project have to be shared under the same open source licence, or permissive licences, which provide the freedom to choose a different licence for derivations of your project, including the potential waiving of the need for acknowledgement. If you want to know more, we also recommend this general book about OSH.

Other questions

Please send us an e-mail with your user problem and we will try to answer or consider the feedback for the next update. Please understand that we might not be able to answer all questions directly. We are still actively developing this database and understand that a lot of features you might like to see are not yet implemented.

Documentation Software FAQ

We proudly develop the documentation tool as open source software

As it says. Yes, you are more than welcome to help! Drop us a line at docubricks@gmail.com

Having trouble using the software?

We are sorry to hear that! Please send us an e-mail with your problem and we will try to answer it or consider the feedback for the next update. The documentation tool is new and we are still actively improving it – thank you for being patient with us!