Hosting open hardware files on Zenodo: Durable and citable resource sharing

Recently, while preparing our next open hardware project, we researched how to best share the design files. Originally we decided to self-host, with the idea of later migrating to GitHub. Instead, we opted for Zenodo, the file sharing platform maintained by CERN and funded by the EU.

Zenodo stands out for 2 features:

  1. Durability – Government-funded platforms tend to be more predictably durable than private companies. And unlike self-hosting, the work stops when the files are uploaded.
  2. Citable sharing – Zenodo attributes a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) to the shared files, and like scientific publications, accepts an author list. This makes open hardware projects more easily citable in publications, and grant proposals (there is some integration between Zenodo and the EU grant submission system). As a result, it becomes easier to properly credit contributors, and get credit for the work while seeking future funding.

And like other platforms, Zenodo enables version control. Below some additional features, as described on their website.

We have started publishing our projects there, with the first one being the light-blocking headplate and sleeve for 2-photon microscopy.