Crowdcrafting, the open-source platform for building and participating in citizen science projects online, has been making headlines recently.
Speaking at the Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva last month, the world’s leading event on open data, CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Rufus Pollock, announced that barely six months after its official launch, Crowdcrafting has grown to accommodate over 120 projects, making it the world’s most diverse open-source platform for online citizen science and crowdsourced data analysis.
Recognizing the broad, socially enabling power of this platform, the Shuttleworth Foundation this month awarded one of its prestigious fellowships to the lead developer of Crowdcrafting, Daniel Lombraña González of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre. “I want to give people the tools and knowledge to create their own online scientific projects, whether they are professional scientists or amateurs”, says Daniel Lombraña González.
A Crowdcrafting project about antimatter, the outcome of a student event organized by the Citizen Cyberscience Centre at CERN in August, has made quite a buzz on social media and in the particle physics community. World-renowned theoretical physicist, John Ellis of King’s College London and CERN commented “ I was amazed how students at the CERN Webfest in August could turn CERN data on antimatter into a new citizen science project within just a weekend. This shows the power of the Crowdcrafting platform.” [see his keynote speech about open science and citizen science at CERN here]
A humanitarian application called Micromappers for classifying tweets, which is based on the Crowdcrafting software, was tested this month by a team at the Qatar Computer Research Institute. The first test case was to classify tweets from the recent Pakistan Earthquake. Interviewed in Wired Magazine, the team leader, Patrick Meier explained how the technology was being used “to democratize digital humanitarian volunteering, to lower the barriers to entry, so anybody who knows how to get online and use a mouse and speaks English or another language, can actually be a digital humanitarian volunteer.”