Most scientific research is conducted by small teams of investigators who together formulate hypotheses, collect data, conduct analyses, and report novel findings. These teams operate independently as vertically integrated silos. Here we argue that scientific research that is horizontally distributed can provide substantial complementary value, aiming to maximize available resources, promote inclusiveness and transparency, and increase rigor and reliability. This alternative approach enables researchers to tackle ambitious projects that would not be possible under the standard model. Crowdsourced scientific initiatives vary in the degree of communication between project members from largely independent work curated by a coordination team to crowd collaboration on shared activities. The potential benefits and challenges of large-scale collaboration span the entire research process: ideation, study design, data collection, data analysis, reporting, and peer review. Complementing traditional small science with crowdsourced approaches can accelerate the progress of science and improve the quality of scientific research.
This research was supported by the Center for Open Science, John Templeton Foundation, Templeton World Charity Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, Arnold Ventures, James McDonnell Foundation, and a research and development grant from INSEAD.
© The Author(s) 2019.
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't