The way we produce goods and provide services as a society is changing. We are not just consumers anymore – we create videos, music, art, software, hardware and much more, because the digital era has empowered us to do so. It’s easier than ever before to be a producer.
So why don't we apply this model to how we do science too?
Crowdcrafting was born at a hackathon in Cape Town, South Africa in 2011. It is a free and open source alternative to existing citizen science platforms. In partnership with our key collaborators, such as CERN, United Nations (UNITAR) and the University of Geneva, we have reached out to and inspired many people to get involved with science. And this is how we have achieved our goal of transforming citizens from scientific consumers to scientific producers.
Crowdcrafting is a web-based service that invites volunteers to contribute to scientific projects developed by citizens, professionals or institutions that need help to solve problems, analyze data or complete challenging tasks that can’t be done by machines alone, but require human intelligence. The platform is 100% open source – that is its software is developed and distributed freely – and 100% open-science, making scientific research accessible to everyone.
Crowdcrafting uses PyBossa software: Our open source framework for crowdsourcing projects. Institutions, such as the British Museum, CERN and United Nations (UNITAR), are also PyBossa users.
Citizen science is the active contribution of people who are not professional scientists to science. It provides volunteers with the opportunity to contribute intellectually to the research of others, to share resources or tools at their disposal, or even to start their own research projects. Volunteers provide real value to ongoing research while they themselves acquire a better understanding of the scientific method.
Citizen science opens the doors of laboratories and makes science accessible to all. It facilitates a direct conversation between scientists and enthusiasts who wish to contribute to scientific endeavour.
Anyone can create a new project or contribute to an existing project in Crowdcrafting.
All projects start with a simple tutorial explaining how they work and providing all the information required to participate. There is thus no specific knowledge or experience required to complete proposed tasks. All volunteers need is a keen attitude to learn and share science with everyone.
Based on volunteers
CrowdCrafting is powered by the PyBossa software, a free, 100% open-source framework for crowdsourcing.
It enables you to create and run projects where volunteers help you with image classification, transcription, geocoding and more. PyBossa lets researchers, civic hackers and developers connect with people all around the world to solve problems faster and more efficiently. Embrace the power of the crowd!
You can read more about the architecture in the PyBossa Documentation and follow the step-by-step tutorial to create your own projects.
“Volunteers are surveying the Philippines’ storm-ravaged landscapes, helping to identify areas where help is needed most.”
“During a crisis data produced can be overwhelming to analyse. Microtasking could help solve it by harnessing the power of the crowd.”
“In just 29 days, they made 90,000 tasks — each by 10 different volunteers to reduce errors — and identified 1,420 well locations.”