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Co- development of HARDOCS: An Open Source Tool to make FAIR data easy to adopt in hardware and product design

Urra Llanusa, Jose Carlos; Steward, Clive; Ilamparuthi, Santosh; Hycenth, Divine

The current document reports on a 6 month long co-creation activity funded by the EOSCSecretariat to explore how FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) data can be adopted and embedded in a tool to enable commonly understood documentation processes in the context of hardware and product design.


Documentation processes are essential to make innovation and science more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR).To give an illustrative example, there have been many groups around the world developing hardware designs of equipment, as a response to address the COVID-19 crisis, and the subsequent shortage of accessories and even medical equipment such as ventilators.

Even though there are many tools to document and publish projects in various ways and formats (often intended for software development), they require a certain level of expertise, software culture and familiarity with certain tools. Markdown, for instance, is a widely used format to document projects and generate beautiful static documentation websites, but it is not very suitable when users want see images while writing their texts. Setting up static websites to publish documentation also requires users to use typed commands on a terminal, which could be an obstacle in certain disciplines where web technologies, programming and git version control are not widely adopted or required. 


Our co-creation activity resulted in a set of design premises, a software architecture design to address these design premises, and an application prototype that facilitates the generation and editing of documents in the context of hardware design.This work provides useful steps towards making documentation FAIR by design. All the source code is available to the public following open source requirements. You can find the repositories at

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