The Illuminated Crowd. Photo adapted from and used under CC-BY-NC-SA license.

2014 theme: Scholarship and the Crowd

New technologies have opened opportunities to more easily engage broad audiences in contributing to and benefiting from scholarship. While it has always been possible to engage amateurs and the general public in scholarly work, now it’s easier to do it at scale. The internet, open access licenses, new tools, new ideas and new processes enable scholarly endeavors both to reach larger and more diverse audiences outside the academy, but also to invite them to collect data, provide their own interpretation, perform tasks contribute to scholarly analysis, and more.

Whether intentionally (through volunteering to work with a scholarly project, such as the Zooniverse or Transcribe Bentham projects) or indirectly (through projects like Duolingo, reCAPTCHA, or projects that analyze photos contributed to the commons by thousands of photographers) there are now opportunities for much broader publics to be engaged in scholarship and building of archives that can be used for scholarly analysis.

Many people now carry sensors in their pockets (the GPS, camera, and other capabilities of smartphones or tablets) – how might these be used to contribute to and participate in scholarly work?

What are the social, legal, and technical issues that enable these to work, or cause them to fail?

How can and should such “crowdsourced” work be credited, or compensated for?

How best can works created in this way be collected, disseminated, preserved?

For the 2014 SCI, we invite teams who would like to get started on such projects, or extend their existing projects to include more meaningful interaction with new and larger audiences, to convene to plan, discuss, and begin to build and assess how scholarship can best engage with the “crowd”.




Banner photo: “The Illuminated Crowd” Adapted from and used under CC-BY-NC-SA license.