There are obviously various ways to become a Fab Lab — the fabfolk wiki names at least for (the grant process, the bottom-up process, the “agile” process, the Clan process).
Part of any of these processes is some sort of official registration. Fablab.ch is here to facilitate the registration process. The Swiss Fab Foundation maintains the Official Register of Fab Labs in Switzerland.
There are four criteria an initiative or organisation has to fulfill to be allowed to call itself a Fab Lab. Those criteria are also set out on the fabfolk wiki:
- First and foremost, public access to the fab lab is essential. A fab lab is about democratizing access to the tools for personal expression and invention. So a fab lab must be open to the public for free or in-kind service/barter at least part of the time each week.
- Fab Labs support and subscribe to the fab lab charter: This charter should be published somewhere on the website and also in the fab lab.
- Fab Labs must share a common set of tools and processes. The critical machines and materials are in this list: http://fab.cba.mit.edu/about/fab/inv.html and there’s a list of open source software and freeware that we use online as well (embedded in fab academy modules here: http://academy.cba.mit.edu/classes/). The idea is that all the labs can share knowledge, designs, and collaborate across international borders.
- You have to participate in the larger, global fab lab network, that is, you can’t isolate yourself. This is about being part of a global, knowlege-sharing community through the videoconference, attending the annual fab lab meeting, and otherwise collaborating and partnering with other labs in the network on workshops, challenges or projects. Participating in Fab Academy is yet another way to connect with the global network community.
The official list of Fab Labs is kept on the fabfolk wiki. It is the labs’ own responsibility to keep that entry up to date and accurate. Writing rights on the wiki are granted by the wiki bureaucrats upon application.