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Crowdsourcing citizen science: exploring the tensions between paid professionals and users

Woodcock, Jamie, Greenhill, Anita, Holmes, Kate, Graham, Gary, Cox, Joe, Oh, Eun Young and Masters, Karen (2017) Crowdsourcing citizen science: exploring the tensions between paid professionals and users. Journal of Peer Production (10). ISSN 2213-5316

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Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between paid labour and unpaid users within the Zooniverse, a crowdsourced citizen science platform. The platform brings together a crowd of users to categorise data for use in scientific projects. It was initially established by a small group of academics for a single astronomy project, but has now grown into a multi-project platform that has engaged over 1.3 million users so far. The growth has introduced different dynamics to the platform as it has incorporated a greater number of scientists, developers, links with organisations, and funding arrangements—each bringing additional pressures and complications. The relationships between paid/professional and unpaid/citizen labour have become increasingly complicated with the rapid expansion of the Zooniverse. The paper draws on empirical data from an ongoing research project that has access to both users and paid professionals on the platform. There is the potential through growing peer-to-peer capacity that the boundaries between professional and citizen scientists can become significantly blurred. The findings of the paper, therefore, address important questions about the combinations of paid and unpaid labour, the involvement of a crowd in citizen science, and the contradictions this entails for an online platform. These are considered specifically from the viewpoint of the users and, therefore, form a new contribution to the theoretical understanding of crowdsourcing in practice.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://peerproduction.net/issues/
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Departments > Management
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 10:07
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2021 23:14
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/68191

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