The brave new worlds of crowdfunding science - EuroScientist Webzine
"Citizen’s interest in research is gaining momentum. In some cases, it translates as a direct involvement of citizens in research projects. In other cases, initiatives allowing citizens’ participation in science policy through Science Shops—a concept originated in the Netherlands in the 1970s—has flourished more recently in Germany alongside other initiatives. Similar ones also exist in France. But taking part in research—which sometimes involves mundane tasks—or deciding where the research priorities lie do not satisfy everyone. Some people would rather fund research directly. As a result, crowfunding for research is maturing. No longer the domain of quirky promises—say, to make a potato salad—crowdfunding now specifically caters for science projects. Several websites are going from strength to strength, including Europe-wide Public Lab, Science Starter in Germany, Walacea in the UK and Experiment in the USA, to name only a few. A defining aspect of Science 2.0, crowdfunding is increasingly considered as an alternative funding source for research projects.1 But this raises the question of what traditional government-financed funders will do in response to the growth in crowdfunders. Will they soon be in competition for scientists’ services? Or could each side’s funding models evolve so that the two are complementary to each other, learning and adopting better practices for better science? ..."