Opening up the Ivory Tower and involving the public in research processes is a process that has gained prominence in recent years, a while ago we also wrote about “crowdsourcing” – where communities or groups of people outside traditional research environments provide their skills for research processes. But how about using the general public to finance your research project through “crowdfunding“?
Crowdfunding as a phenomenon has emerged in the business circles as a means to fund start-ups, and. In the business sphere, crowdfunding is considered one of the key developments for funding startups. Recenrtly, Forbes commentary about the development was: “Trust me. It’s going to be big“, as various social network sites have also shown interest in integrating with crowdfunding platforms.
A number of these platforms in more creativity related areas have gained massive support and have been around for some years already. For instance, Kickstarter is a platform for funding filmmakers, musicians, artists and designers – and this platform alone has had 4,7 million people pledge over 768 million dollars for funding over 47 000 projects, with a success rate of 44% of the projects reaching their goals.
With such potential in the world of business and creative arts as a means to find alternative funding sources – why not use this new arena for funding research? Granted, research is arguably often more expensive than your average artsy project, and it is more difficult to the public to make informed judgments about the quality of projects. However, sites for crowdfunding of research projects are in fact emerging.