Until recently, scientific research was carried out in university, academic organizations or R&D departments of big companies. The last few years, however, have seen the emergence of projects that do not fit in the framework of traditional science. Modern tools and Internet technologies greatly facilitated the collaboration of scientists with the public in order to collect and process a big amount of data. Large-scale collaborative projects involving thousands of participants are referred to as crowd sourced science and this is now becoming a hot topic in science. Crowd sourced science is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of undefined people. Prominent projects today are Foldit, involving thousands of people in a computer game to understand the protein folding, Galaxy Zoo, in which 250,000 volunteers help with the collection of astronomical data, and Polymath launched by the Fields Medalist Tim Gowers to solve mathematical questions. It seems that crowd science is a solution to get better, faster or more varied results in science.
Openness and participation can lead to considerable benefits, but the same characteristics may also create certain challenges. One of the key feature of crowd science projects is their openness to the contributions of a large number of individuals. Thus, organizational mechanisms are needed to get an efficient matching between projects and skills of potential contributors. Moreover, crowd science need a skilled project manager able to create and organize a large community. Tasks shall be properly distributed, limiting the number of people working on the same problem at the same time. Just as important as distributing tasks is the effective integration of a huge number of contributions in order to find the overall solutions.
Which are, thus, science projects that can use the crowd sourcing?
(posted by Elisa, Giulia and Lara)