Pre-print: Open microscopy in the life sciences: Quo Vadis?

J. Hohlbein, B. Diederich, B. Marsikova, E.G. Reynaud, S. Holden, W. Jahr, R. Haase, and K. Prakash, arXiv, 2021, [link]

Light microscopy allows observing cellular features and objects with sub-micrometer resolution. As such, light microscopy has been playing a fundamental role in the life sciences for more than a hundred years. Fueled by the availability of mass-produced electronics and hardware, publicly shared documentation and building instructions, open-source software, wide access to rapid prototyping and 3D printing, and the enthusiasm of contributors and users involved, the concept of open microscopy has been gaining incredible momentum, bringing new sophisticated tools to an expanding user base. Here, we will first discuss the ideas behind open science and open microscopy before highlighting recent projects and developments in open microscopy. We argue that the availability of well-designed open hardware and software solutions targeting broad user groups or even non-experts, will increasingly be relevant to cope with the increasing complexity of cutting-edge imaging technologies. We will then extensively discuss the current and future challenges of open microscopy.