We have reached a point in society where academic researchers need citizens as much as citizens need academic researchers.
Berkeley, CA (PRWEB) May 14, 2014
The Internet has taken open education enthusiasts and entrepreneurs on a roller coaster ride. It has both raised – and dropped – their expectations and hopes. From Wikipedia to Open Source and MOOC’s, open knowledge platforms have brought with them the promise of transforming traditional, upstart educational systems into one that offers open, world-class innovation. Despite much progress in this direction, today's VC investors still seem to clearly favor the entrepreneurial aspirations of graduates from top tier universities, even when it is clear that most entrepreneurs stem from among average citizens. In the scientific world, the situation does not seem to be any different, says Dr. Marcelo Machado, a researcher working in open science. "Open source has become the innovation norm in the world of tech/for-profit business. Ironically, because of the obscurity surrounding grant applications and the paywalls behind scientific literature, what's supposed to be non-profit, socially benevolent academia endeavors to keep new knowledge eyes-only."
Until now, that is.
A group of scientists and researchers have proposed a new approach to help remove the walls in the traditional university and research models and create a direct link between individuals and cutting-edge knowledge through the next generation of MOOCs; Massive (Online) Open Research and Education, or M.O.R.E. “What can be learned by one individual in a class of 50 can be achieved much faster and far more efficiently by directly linking a student with a mentor/researcher,” says Dr. Carlos-Andres Palma, co-founder of the M.O.R.E. platform, scikick.org. In his opinion, M.O.R.E. can do much more for education, research and entrepreneurship than any dedicatedly specialized platform. "We have reached a point in society where academic researchers need citizens as much as citizens need academic researchers. We (as researchers) need citizens to help solve data and computer-intensive research problems. And citizens need researchers to introduce them to the cutting-edge technological solutions and innovation that exist beyond the layperson, Silicon Valley model." Palma envisions the future of online research as a world where every research lab will offer all citizens unlimmited access to open research.
Crowdsourced research is not only poised to enable collaborative open science, but also to increase the rate at which we discover and integrate new ideas. Both Wired Magazine and Le Monde have recently highlighted the importance of such research models in solving critical scientific puzzles. According to Palma, "Eventually, thousands of crowdsourced research projects will compete for media and user attention. The goal with scikick.org is first - to have an online repository of crowdsourced research projects for users to choose from. In a second step - to offer online tools to help users initiate a collaborative research project of their own or search for an existing one. Finally, no research is complete without the means to help fund the inevitable birth of novel, high-risk projects. Combining networking tools and funding is at the heart of scientific research and how the concept of scikick.org began." Scikick.org, the first to offer M.O.R.E. as an online platform for cutting-edge open research, has just launched a fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo. "Instead of writing a restricted-access grant proposal for an open research platform, we thought it was more meaningful to write an open proposal, on the internet," says Palma. "And crowdfunding a scientific project is exciting. One learns how to write for the general public while maintaining a scientific tone. And at the same time, as the project rides the review and feedback loop, it is either eventually proven to be non-viable, or dynamically improves, matures, and becomes reality. It could take the traditional grant system decades of undocumented trial and error to innovate. In an open research platform like scikick.org, the same process would take just a fraction of the time and resources."