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Experts Weigh in on Crowd Science Trend

The Daily Scan recently brought you the latest on the growing crowd science trend. The Chronicle of Higher Education has asked three researchers for their opinions on the phenomenon, and their reactions are mixed. As quoted in the Chronicle, Columbia University physics professor Michael Tuts says much of the data he studies is not made public because initial errors can be subtle and need to be corrected and tweaked before it's useful to anyone. "It is not clear if these type of complex data will ever be able amenable to 'crowd science'," he says. Also in the Chronicle piece, Clifford Lynch, director of the Coalition for Networked Information, says there are two things happening here: one is that researchers are using "massive citizen or crowd observational capabilities" as data collectors, and the other is the rise of amateur science, which is being aided by the abundance of data available on the Internet. The relationship between "professional" and "amateur" researchers is evolving, he adds. Rounding off the Chronicle's list of experts is Carol Minton Morris, director of marketing and communications for DuraSpace, who says citizen scientists benefit research as they may be able to find answers buried in data that no one else has thought to look for. "We may need to rename the 'data deluge.' How does 'data renaissance' sound?" she says.