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Crowdfunded Science Is Here. But Is It Legit Science? | WIRED

Crowdfunded Science Is Here. But Is It Legit Science? | WIRED | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
More and more scientists are turning to crowdfunding to get money to run their experiments.
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A crowdfunding CAMPAIGN FOR A brain imaging studyclosed Monday after raising almost $80,000 toward a unique goal: the first functional magnetic resonance images of the brain on LSD. The Beckley Foundation, a UK-based charitable trust that promotes research and awareness of psychoactive drugs, will use the money to scan volunteers who’ve dropped acid. Such are the sacrifices people will make for science.

Now, it’s little surprise scientists studying the effects of illicit drugs must sometimes find unconventional benefactors—or that thousands of people would invest in seeing the brains of volunteers tripping balls. But in recent years, crowdfunding has grown increasingly popular among researchers in nearly every field. Successful campaigns have explored drought tolerance in Spanish and Indian oak species, attempted to explain jokes with math, and worked to discover exoplanets in the far reaches of space. The first crowdfunded experiments popped up on traditional platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo; now sites like Petridish, Experiment, andWalacea cater specifically to scientific fundraising.

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Crowd-Sourcing Brain Research Leads to Breakthrough

"In the largest collaborative study of the brain to date, scientists using imaging technology at more than 100 centers worldwide have for the first time zeroed in on genes that they agree play a role in intelligence and memory.

Scientists working to understand the biology of brain function — and especially those using brain imaging, a blunt tool — have been badly stalled. But the new work, involving more than 200 scientists, lays out a strategy for breaking the logjam. The findings appear in a series of papers published online Sunday in the journal Nature Genetics.

“What’s really new here is this movement toward crowd-sourcing brain research,” said Paul Thompson, a professor of neurology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and senior author of one of the papers. “This is an example of social networking in science, and it gives us a power we have not had.”"


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The Crowdsourcing Scam - The Baffler

The Crowdsourcing Scam - The Baffler | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In 1968 a Norwegian science fiction writer named Tor Åge Bringsværd published a peculiar short story called “Codemus.” The story has achieved the kind of retrospectively prophetic quality that makes sci-fi such a useful imaginative... Read More »
Artur Alves's insight:

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When companies use the word “crowdsourcing”—a coinage that suggests voluntary democratic participation—they are performing a neat ideological inversion. The kind of tentative employment that we might have scoffed at a decade or two ago, in which individuals provide intellectual labor to a corporation for free or for sub-market wages, has been gussied up with the trappings of technological sophistication, populist appeal, and, in rare cases, the possibility of viral fame. But in reality, this labor regime is just another variation on the age-old practice of exploiting ordinary workers and restructuring industrial relations to benefit large corporations and owners of the platforms serving them. The lies and rhetorical obfuscations of crowdsourcing have helped tech companies devalue work, and a long-term, reasonably secure, decently paying job has increasingly become a MacGuffin—something we ardently chase after but will likely never capture, since it’s there only to distract us from the main action of the script.

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MIT crowdsources and gamifies brain analysis | ExtremeTech

MIT crowdsources and gamifies brain analysis | ExtremeTech | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

"MIT wants to change all that by tasking thousands of people with analyzing a 0.3-millimeter slice of mouse retinal tissue. Using a new site called Eyewire, MIT will ask users to track a neuron’s path by coloring in each axon (tendril). In the future, MIT will roll out another “game” which challenges users to find the synapses. The end result will be the connectome (a tome of connections) of the mouse’s retina."


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