ENTRIES TAGGED "labs"

Crowdfunding science

Micro-patronage could let researchers step around funding obstacles.

In our first science-as-a-service post, I highlighted some of the participants in the ecosystem. In this one, I want to share the changing face of funding.

Throughout the 20th century, most scientific research funding has come from one of two sources: government grants or private corporations. Government funding is often a function of the political and economic climate, so researchers who rely on it risk having to deal with funding cuts and delays. Those who are studying something truly innovative or risky often find it difficult to get funded at all. Corporate research is most often undertaken with an eye toward profit, so projects that are unlikely to produce a return on investment are often ignored or discarded.

If one looks to history, however, scientific research was originally funded by individual inventors and wealthy patrons. These patrons were frequently rewarded with effusive acknowledgements of their contributions; Galileo, for example, named the moons of Jupiter after the Medicis (though the names he chose ultimately did not stick).

There has been a resurgence of that model — though perhaps more democratic — in the modern concept of crowdfunding. Kickstarter, the most well-known of the crowdfunding startups, enables inventors, artists, and makers to source the funds they need for their projects by connecting to patrons on the platform. Contributors donate money to a project and are kept updated on its progress. Eventually, they may receive some sort of reward — a sticker acknowledging their participation or an example of the completed work. Scientists have begun to use the site, in many cases, to supplement their funding. Anyone can be a micro-patron!

Petridish.org screenshot - funded scientific project

Deceiving the Superorganism: Ant-Exploiting Beetles” met its goal through Petridish, a funding site.

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Four short links: 6 February 2013

Four short links: 6 February 2013

Cite Spam, Astro Science Labs, Citizen Science, and Accelerating Research

  1. Manipulating Google Scholar Citations and Google Scholar Metrics: simple, easy and tempting (PDF) — scholarly paper on how to citespam your paper up Google Scholar’s results list. Fortunately calling your paper “AAAAAA In-vitro Qualia of …” isn’t one of the winning techniques.
  2. Seamless Astronomybrings together astronomers, computer scientists, information scientists, librarians and visualization experts involved in the development of tools and systems to study and enable the next generation of online astronomical research.
  3. Eye Wirea citizen science game where you map the 3D structure of neurons.
  4. Open Science is a Research Accelerator (Nature Chemistry) — challenge was: get rid of this bad-tasting compound from malaria medicine, without raising cost. Did it with open notebooks and collaboration, including LinkedIn groups. Lots of good reflection on advertising, engaging, and speed.
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Science as a service

What happens when you apply software-as-a-service principles to science?

Software as a service (SaaS) is one of the great innovations of Web 2.0. SaaS enables flexibility and customized solutions. It reduces costs — the cost of entry, the cost of overhead, and as a result, the cost of experimentation. In doing so, it’s been instrumental in spurring innovation.

So, what if you were to apply the principles of SaaS to science? Perhaps we can facilitate scientific progress by streamlining the process. Science as a service (SciAAS?) will enable researchers to save time and money without compromising quality. Making specialized resources and institutional expertise available for hire gives researchers more flexibility. Core facilities that own equipment can rent it out during down time, helping to reduce their own costs. The promise of science as a service is a future in which research is more efficient, creative, and collaborative. Read more…

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Second "Open Feedback" Title Now Online

Over on the O'Reilly Labs blog, Keith Fahlgren talks about the latest title to go live in our Open Feedback Publishing System, which gives authors and readers a way to discuss a book while it's being written. The latest book, Building iPhone Apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, also features a very nice upgrade to the system's CSS (its look-and-feel)….

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Video: Android meets Eink

Keeping with the "labs" theme for recent posts, via a tweet from George Walkley: Lots of talk about devices at TOC – now just saw this, Android + e-ink http://vimeo.com/3162590 #toc The guys at MOTO labs have hacked together a prototype showing Google's Android operating system running on an e-ink display: Android Meets E Ink from MOTO Development Group on…

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At TOC: Bookworm Online EPUB Reader Now Part of O'Reilly Labs

Update: There are now 400+ shiny DRM-free EPUB books from O'Reilly if you want to give Bookworm a test drive. Much of what's on our complete list with a green "E" next to it is available in EPUB and is Bookworm-friendly (the rest is just PDF for now, but you'll get the EPUB as a free update when it's available)….

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