Below is the prologue of an opinion piece giving reasons why public institutions should publish more of their hardware designs as Open-Source Hardware (OSHW), along with a link to the full article in pdf format. We also propose a number of ways in which the positive impact of these developments on society could be increased. Feel free to read it on Medium for a browser-friendly version or if you would like to comment on it. You can also contact the authors directly. Thanks!
Imagine a world in which public institutions create a common pool of knowledge and technology which everybody is free to access. A world in which commercial entities build upon that commons to add value and generate revenue, some of which is re-injected into the public sphere to fuel the continuous growth of the commons. Imagine we had a way to make this process super-efficient. Just think about creative energy already present in public institutions: universities, laboratories, government agencies... In this opinion piece, we argue that with coordination and appropriate support, this vision can lead to an enormous boost to innovation and welfare. If this sounds compelling to you, read on.