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Engaging Many Minds: Crowdsourcing in Academia


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Presenting a crowdsourcing approach that enables open brainstorming for the best research projects at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Engaging Many Minds: Crowdsourcing in Academia

  1. 1. Engaging Many Minds Katja Reuter* , Rachael Sak, Maninder Kahlon *Presenter: Manager, Online Communications, Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI), University of California, San Francisco Crowdsourcing: Virtual Community Collaborations in Academia
  2. 2. Expanding Communications ... to enable new ways for researchers to interact, communicate and collaborate.
  3. 3. Website Resources, Databases E-Mail Service Presenting Information Online Research Networking Tools Crowdsourcing Tools Research Blogs Catalyzing and Enabling New Ways for Researchers to: <ul><li>Communicate </li></ul><ul><li>Interact </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborate </li></ul>...
  4. 4. Using a crowdsourcing approach to enable idea generation as a collaborative endeavor. Transforming the types of research questions that are generated and how teams are convened.
  5. 5. What is Crowdsourcing? “ the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to an undefined, large group of people or community (a &quot;crowd&quot;), through an open call”. WIKIPEDIA
  6. 6. Finding and leveraging the enormous potential of the “collective brain” has a history outside of research.
  7. 7. Inspiration <ul><li>Crowdsourcing models used in Industry </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. IBM, Netflix, InnoCentive </li></ul><ul><li>Bestselling books and articles </li></ul><ul><li>“ The wisdom of crowds” (James Surowiecki, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>“ The rise of crowdsourcing” (Jeff Howe, Wired, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>“ We are smarter than me. How to Unleash the </li></ul><ul><li>Power of Crowds in Your Business” (Barry Libert </li></ul><ul><li>& John Spector, 2007) </li></ul>
  8. 8. We launched 3 pilot projects at the University of California, San Francisco to crowdsource ideas for the best research projects.
  9. 9. Feb 2009 March 2009 July 2009 Target Audience CTSI Leadership ~35 UCSF Research Community ~7500 people CTSI Communit y/ Affiliates ~300 Time Period 4 weeks 6 weeks 5 months ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Ideas for Economic ARRA Stimulus Funding Ideas for CTSI Year 4 Ideas for CTSI Renewal Grant Proposal
  10. 10. What does the tool look like?
  11. 11. <ul><li>The tool provides the substrate to achieve several goals. </li></ul><ul><li>It supports: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>1. community building </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2. team assembly </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>3. innovation management </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>4. collaborative idea generation </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>5. team work on proposals. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Features (Built off Drupal Content Management System) <ul><li>Submit ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Comment on ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Vote (Like or Dislike) </li></ul><ul><li>Filter by Idea Topics </li></ul><ul><li>Sort Ideas by popularity or commenting </li></ul><ul><li>Receive E-mail Notifications for updates on ideas of interest </li></ul><ul><li>Revise collaboratively to move idea forward </li></ul><ul><li>View Idea Status </li></ul>
  13. 13. An Exemplary Discussion Thread
  14. 14. As part of the process, the tool itself was iteratively improved based on user input .
  15. 15. <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The solicited ideas focused on </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>research infrastructure and novel approaches </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to improve the translation of basic discoveries into health benefits for the community, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>known as clinical & translational research. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>known as clinical & translational research. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Unique Page Views = # of sessions during which the forum was viewed one or more times Targeted Audience Ideas Submitted Comments Submitted Votes Submitted % Comments by Unique Page Views % Votes by Unique Page Views CTSI Year 4 ~35 18 41 31 19% 14% Economic ARRA Stimulus Funding ~300 27 39 75 8% 15% CTSI Renewal Grant Proposal ~7500 53 47 65 9% 12%
  17. 17. The Process Initiative supported and promoted by CTSI leadership ... Initiative supported and promoted by CTSI leadership ... Initiative supported and promoted by CTSI leadership ...
  18. 18. CTSI leadership evaluated and triaged submitted ideas, providing continual feedback online and via in-person meetings.
  19. 19. Idea Development and Cross-Pollination among other Virtual Communities Promising ideas that could not be funded initially were transferred to the subsequent “Open Forum” initiative.
  20. 20. What did our users say?
  21. 22. Takeaway 15 <ul><li>Crowdsourcing tools can help leverage the potential for collaborative generation </li></ul><ul><li>of new and better ideas and collaborator finding in academia. </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing ideas transparently between otherwise seemingly competitive </li></ul><ul><li>proposals was received well. </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight focused incentives and senior sponsorship to users </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate online with real-world communication opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Future work will aim at reaching broader, more distributed audiences beyond </li></ul><ul><li>UCSF and applying the lessons learned to the crowdsourcing of ideas to </li></ul><ul><li>address pressing biomedical research questions. </li></ul>
  22. 23. <ul><li>Thanks to the Virtual Home Team at CTSI, University of California, San Francisco. </li></ul><ul><li>Cynthia Piontkowski , Web Producer </li></ul><ul><li>Kristine Moss , Web Manager </li></ul><ul><li>Brad Bulger , Technical Consultant for Web Application Development </li></ul><ul><li>Leslie Yuan , Director of Web Products </li></ul>