Rationale for Open Publishing

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We typically ask people, when they are getting involved with or interacting with OSE, to publish their information, application, sample assignments, or proposals openly. We hold this position, unless we are discussing private or personal information that can compromise one's right to privacy. This position is foreign to many people who are used to operating in older business structures based on proprietary competitition, so here is an explanation of OSE's position.

For OSE - as an open organization - there is a practical reason for open publishing - which is based on development efficiency. Efficiency is one of the core values of OSE. When content is published openly, we publish it once, and it is free for everyone to see, learn from, or build upon - as in the nature of the Open Source Hardware Definition. This means that the material is 'out there' - and we spend no energy on protecting that material. We can simply refer people to that material - instead of first determining what we can share or not, possibly editing things out, and then sending the information. When we have a distributed team, with some dedicated and many more loosely-affiliated contributors - it is important that everyone gains access, becomes involved, and is enabled to contribute to the project. Open publishing is the only way to achieve this when working with a large, distributed team.

When others can see our information openly - without us having to maintain security - we establish a culture of open collaboration. If one does not publish openly, that is an example of competitive waste - in that it takes energy to protect one's IP. Such protectionism is a standard practice in much of industry - and academia prior to open publication. Such competitive waste is - to OSE - not constructive towards our goal of open innovation.

A good example of efficiency associated with openness is Wikipedia. Imagine the contrary - if every reader had to obtain permission before reading any Wikipedia article - or even worse - if certain articles were private, for the 'eyes of the privileged' only. This barrier would make the utility of Wikipedia much lower. OSE considers openness in a nature similar to the functioning of Wikipedia - as a powerful enabler of building upon open content. The benefit of building upon accessible information far outweighs the benefit of profiting from information closure. This is our philosophical stand, and an essential component of OSE Culture.