Image: Crowdfunding, US Securities and Exchange Commission (no, really), CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Sometimes I hold an opinion that I’m almost certain has to be wrong, but I can’t figure out why. This is one of those times. I need you to help me.
I’ve been watching the trend to crowdfunded science, and it bothers me. I completely understand why it happens, and why it’s become much more common. The science funding environment continues to be difficult – indeed, in many places it seems to be getting steadily more difficult, especially for early-career scientists and those doing the most basic/curiosity-driven science. At the same time, the rise of web-based crowdfunding platforms* has made it relatively easy to reach potential donors (at least in principle, and more about that below). For any given researcher at any given time, surely the science is better with access to crowdsourced support than it would be without. And several colleagues I like and respect have crowdsourced part of their work. So why am I so uncomfortable with the model? Continue reading