Materials and Design and HardwareX team up to showcase open hardware in scientific research
Materials and Design and HardwareX team up to showcase open hardware in scientific research

The journal of Materials and Design and HardwareX[1] are teaming up to showcase research that is undertaken using hardware designed by scientists. HardwareX is a new research elements journal that aims to connect the scientific community that is making its own equipment, or modifying existing equipment to conduct experiments. Papers published in HardwareX complement the original research papers published in the research journals by showing the infrastructure used to conduct the experiments.

There is a desperate need to have a high quality repository of state-of-the-art scientific tools which have been validated and tested to produce precise and accurate results. There is also a need to show the utility of these tools in practice in original research published in highly respected academic journals. The validated tools need to come with all the design files (e.g. bill of materials (BOM), instructions, firmware, CAD, and software) to reproduce, operate and maintain them effectively. HardwareX is fulfilling this need. Rather than bury hardware tools that may be relevant to many disciplines deep in the specialty literature, HardwareX provides a central free repository of proven designs. Finally, it provides scientists a place to receive academic credit for the hard work involved in the development of high-quality scientific instruments.

By showcasing the research that is undertaken using this ‘DIY’ equipment in a high quality research journal, like Materials and Design, we hope to able to show other researchers the utility of this hardware. By publishing the means to replicate these hardware designs in HardwareX, we can make science more affordable and reproducible.

Researchers will submit a research paper that has used open source and ‘homemade’ hardware (for a definition of this type of hardware, please visit here: to Materials and Design. In parallel, they will submit a hardware paper to HardwareX. The hardware paper will follow a templated format and show readers how to reproduce the hardware used in the research paper in their own labs. The hardware paper must be submitted to HardwareX within a week of the submission of the research paper (our advice would be to prepare both papers at the same time and submit them as simultaneously as possible).

Please ensure that you read the process for submission in the section below.

To be part of this initiative, submit your research paper to Materials and Design under the following article type: “Reproducibility: Open Hardware in Research.”

Within a week of submitting this paper, please visit HardwareX and submit your hardware paper to the special section ‘Reproducibility: Open Hardware in Research’.

Conditions of submission to Materials and Design special section:

  • Authors must have used homemade hardware (or modified existing equipment with their own design) in the research that they wish to publish in this section of Materials and Design
  • They must be willing to share the designs of their hardware, or equipment modifications, to allow others to rebuild the designs.

Conditions of submission and instructions for submission to HardwareX special section:

  • Authors must have submitted a research paper to the special section in Materials and Design using a DIY piece of scientific equipment. The hardware paper must include the designs of this specific piece of equipment.
  • On submission to HardwareX, researchers need to include reference to the paper number of their submission in Materials and Design in their cover letter. This is to ensure that we can link the research paper to the hardware paper on publication.
  • Authors must read the guide for authors of HardwareX ( and ensure that they submit their paper in the required template, with all the necessary supporting files.
  • Authors must be willing to share their design files with the scientific community with the minimum requirement that other scientists can recreate the hardware from these files. These design files must be made available in an open repository of the author’s choice (including Mendeley Data:, which will enable a seamless and obvious link between the design files and the hardware paper).

Materials and Design is the first journal to partner with HardwareX on this initiative, but we will be looking to partner with more journals in the future.

We will draw special attention to the content published in Materials and Design and HardwareX with a feature on and other communications channels within Elsevier.

For any questions regarding this special content initiative, or any comments, please contact the publisher, Joe d’Angelo (