Facilitating scientific discovery through crowdsourcing and distributed participation

Antony Williams in  EMBnet. journal:” Science has evolved from the isolated individual tinkering in the lab, through the era of the “gentleman scientist” with his or her assistant(s), to group-based then expansive collaboration and now to an opportunity to collaborate with the world. With the advent of the internet the opportunity for crowd-sourced contribution and large-scale collaboration has exploded and, as a result, scientific discovery has been further enabled. The contributions of enormous open data sets, liberal licensing policies and innovative technologies for mining and linking these data has given rise to platforms that are beginning to deliver on the promise of semantic technologies and nanopublications, facilitated by the unprecedented computational resources available today, especially the increasing capabilities of handheld devices. The speaker will provide an overview of his experiences in developing a crowdsourced platform for chemists allowing for data deposition, annotation and validation. The challenges of mapping chemical and pharmacological data, especially in regards to data quality, will be discussed. The promise of distributed participation in data analysis is already in place.”