Defining success in open source hardware development projects: A survey of practitioners

Rafaella Antoniou, Jérémy Bonvoisin, Pen Yuan Hsing, Elies Dekoninck, Daniela Defazio

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2 Citations (SciVal)
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Recent years have seen the rise of citizens as contributors to hardware product creation. This trend has increased attention to open source hardware (OSH): a phenomenon that extends the intellectual property management and development practices in open source software (OSS) into the design of physical objects. OSH projects are different from OSS projects due to product type, and distinct from traditional closed source new product development (NPD) ones due to their openness. These differences challenge the degree of applicability of existing project success definitions in the OSH context. To investigate project success in OSH, we conducted a qualitative survey with practitioners. We report characteristics of successful OSH projects through three identified themes: (a) value creation - the big-picture impact, (b) quality of output - the quality of the hardware and accompanying documentation and (c) project process - activities that contribute to success. We contextualise by comparing OSH with selected literature on the success of OSS and NPD project management. While our study confirms a similarity between OSS and OSH in defining project success, it also highlights themes that are uniquely important to the latter. These findings are helpful for OSH development practice and could provide lessons for OSS development and closed source NPD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8
JournalDesign Science
Early online date21 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022


  • co-creation
  • new product development (NPD) management
  • open design
  • open innovation
  • open source product development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Engineering(all)


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