Recently, science has begun to turn to crowds of online volunteers through open calls for help in analysis of very large sets of data. This initiative goes under the banner of "citizen science", "crowdsourcing" or "crowd science" as scientists are making use of contemporary digital networking through the Internet to attract and enlist crowds of volunteers to contribute to projects in a wide variety of disciplines as diverse as astronomy, papyrology and biology. This is considered an important and innovative way for science to expand the workforce needed to work with large data sets. This type of relationship between non-scientists and science has not been encountered on such a grand scale before and offer volunteer contributors the opportunity to take part in on-going scientific research. Contributions from a wider population into scientific knowledge production, however, require arrangements to ensure quality. A key question becomes who or what creates scientific knowledge in crowdsourcing projects? How is digital technologies used to enable volunteers with limited knowledge about theory and method to contribute to science? How is agreement on scientific rigour and data quality achieved and maintained? Through established methods of social network analysis, both on- as well as off-line, this project will contribute to our understanding of how digital technologies are transforming the ways scientific knowledge is produced. The primary theoretical contribution will be to develop a social epistemology of crowdsourcing in scientific practice. Providing a structure and context for volunteer-derived knowledge that more broadly makes it possible to articulate, formalize and validate this type of increasingly important scientific projects.
The project will start late summer 2014 with funding from the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation.
For more information contact:
Dick Kasperowski, Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg.
Read more on the project blog
Dick Kasperowski, Department of philosophy, linguistics and theory of science, University of Gothenburg
Christopher Kullenberg, Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg
Niclas Hagen, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Ethnology,
Thomas Hillman, Department of education, communication and learning, University of Gothenburg
Marisa Ponti, Department of Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg
Igor Stankovic, Department of Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg
Geoff Bowker, Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
University of California, Irvine
Åsa Mäkitalo, Department of education, communication and learning, University of Gothenburg