Why we collect repair data

Why we collect data

The data collected at Restart Parties is very valuable, as it allows community repair groups to quantify their environmental impact and it helps The Restart Project document, over time, key barriers to repair. This data is collected in the Fixometer, a tool part of Restart’s community platform.

As a registered charity, The Restart Project acknowledges that the collected data might also have commercial value in the long term, and is committed to ensuring that any future commercial benefit deriving from data collected at events will be reinvested in its charitable objectives and specifically in support of its volunteer community activities.

What type of repair data we collect

In order to learn more about products’ repairability, The Restart Project asks volunteers to collect key information about the devices they fix, including: product category, problem description, product age, need for spare parts, brand and model. In case a product can’t be fixed at an event, it is also noted whether it might be repairable by the user at home, or if it might require the help of a professional repairer or more time at a future community event. This helps Restart keep track of the aggregate success rate with repairing electronics at community events, and to highlight specific barriers experienced. These could be things like missing spare parts making a repair impossible, or specific designs making it really hard if not impossible to disassemble a product to repair it.

What do we do with the data we collect

The Restart Project internally analyses repair data submitted via the Fixometer, and plans to use it for additional research on barriers to repair, aggregating and comparing it with data shared by other members of the Open Repair Alliance. By aggregating and comparing data from community groups around the world using the Open Repair Data Standard, the Open Repair Alliance plans to provide evidence in support to new legislation on eco-design requirements and the Right to Repair.

In addition to this, repair data allows Restart to calculate the environmental impact of community repair activities: CO2 emissions and weight for the waste prevented at events. For more information about this, head over to the project’s FAQs.

What data do we share, and how do we license it?

The Restart Project currently shares data about product brand; repair problem; repair status; product category, alongside information about the date the event took place and the name of the community group which run the event. No personal data about the volunteers contributing to the repairs is shared by The Restart Project.

Data is currently published by The Restart Project under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, a flexible license allowing anyone to download and use the data, while requiring that any further publication featuring the data is released with the same license. The full dataset can be downloaded from The Restart Project’s website.

The Restart Project asks volunteers for a “perpetual royalty-free license” so that it can still use their repair data contributions to document key barriers to repairability even if a user decides to leave the platform, deleting all their personal data.

Why don’t we publicly share all data we collect?

Fixometer users can view all data submitted after events. However, The Restart Project does not currently publish three fields of collected data: device model, need for spare parts and type of follow-up required when a repair is not completed at a community event.This is for two main reasons. First, these contributions are partially incomplete and therefore less relevant for analysis. Additionally, while model-specific repair information is not directly relevant in policy discussions, it might have commercial value. The Restart Project might in the future explore opportunities to capture this value in order to support further development of its activities.  Finally, as the Open Repair Data Standard evolves, more data will be collected and shared via the Fixometer.