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  • One Model for Crowdsourcing

    Posted on November 11th, 2013 sarahann No comments

    Arguably,  one of the greatest contributions the internet has made to research is the ability to crowdsource. Now, not only is information provided by well-known academics, but by people from a much wider pool. Contributions can be made by anyone with an interest, and can be rechecked by the community to ensure factuality.

    However, in academia, it is particularly important to have correct information. The peer review process was invented to this end. In order for crowdsourcing to reach its potential as a resource, online and open source resources will have to come up with some form of review to distinguish reputable information.

    One potential model for how crowdsourcing can work in an academic scenario has been presented by the Consumer Products Inventory, a compilation of information about consumer products that contain (or are advertised to contain) nanotechnology.

    In an attempt to maintain the integrity of the information provided by the site, all information is reviewed by a site curator. (Please keep in mind that this is not a formal peer review process.) In order to contribute to the site, one must first request an account, which requires having an institutional email address, and providing information about why you are requesting the account. Any suggested edits are also reviewed by the curators.

    Please note that this site is different from Wikipedia in that no one can write their own information. The only information that will be posted is previously published information, be it in a peer-reviewed journal, or on a manufacturer’s website.