Collaborative science frameworks for citizens and researchers
Science is not just for those who reside in the ivory towers of research institutions. It is also for real people who want to make sense of the world. Involving citizens in research not only allows for crowdsourcing knowledge, but also empowers everyday people to contribute towards positive change in society.
Daniel’s fellowship focussed on Crowdcrafting and its underlying software PYBOSSA, a citizen science framework that allows and supports people and researchers to create science projects and gather collaborative communities around them, using volunteer sensing, computing and thinking.
Daniel’s work - originally with Crowdcrafting and the PYBOSSA software and latterly with the human data mining organisation Sci Fabric - has been an incredible success in demonstrating the power and potential of citizen science. Crowdcrafting was a free, open source crowdsourcing and microtasking platform that enabled online assistance from the public. Sci Fabric developed as a for-profit consultancy service that develops and modifies PYBOSSA to fit the needs of its clients, in any given field.
To date, Daniel and the SciFabric team have used volunteer communities, computing and thinking to deliver genuine human and social impact in a multitude of different fields. These include helping with humanitarian disasters, uncovering political misdemeanors, and analysing petrol company data for Shuttleworth fellow Johnny West’s Open Oil project.
Daniel’s work has resulted in a sustainable, world-changing organisation and ranks as one of our most successful fellowships. He has taken a field traditionally the preserve of hard research and made it accessible to all, breaking the glass ceiling in terms of what we know is achievable with citizen science.
“Most people say university was their best experience, but for me, it was the fellowship. Everyone loves what they do, and that makes it amazing. I feel like I learned a lot and grew as a person and professional. It’s completely changed the way I am, and it has been the most rewarding experience in my life.
“Everyone has their own problems and lives, but I’m still involved. You learn something new from all the amazing people on the Fellowship. I miss being ‘in it’ but I’m still connected, and I hope it will stay like that for a very long time.”