Crowd Science

Citizen Science often involves crowdsourcing research problems that require huge amounts of information processing. These problems are opened to the public so that a large number of people with a variety of approaches can contribute. These projects frequently utilize ‘gamification’, they make the problems an online game or competition.

The three main advantages of crowd science are that it is relatively low-cost (much less than using an algorithm on a supercomputer), it makes use of human ingenuity, imagination, and intuition in problem-solving, and it actively involves the public in scientific research.

There is great variety in crowd science projects, disciplines including astronomy, archaeology, mathematics, and biochemistry. There is also a wide range of people involved from Field Medalist winners to those with no formal science education. Some projects require specialization but some, such as GalaxyZoo and Foldit, are completely open.

In order for crowd science projects to be successful, it is necessary for the scientific problem to be translated into a set of challenges that a large group of people (anything between 50 to 250,000) can work on. This can be pattern spotting in images or data, the design of structures, or observing information in nature, records, or their own body. Scientists need to have a clear long-term goal, sufficient funding, and the ability to support the project over time.

Crowd science combines public engagement with truly open science. The results of the research are open, the findings are usually made available to everyone. Crowd science has also shown that the involvement of the public leads to scientific advancement. Several projects have lead to well-

Helpful links: