If i could see my money would all help research efforts in the fields of
Given how things work for #SciFund, we have an 8% overhead to rockethub and about a 2-5% for folk at universities (although this varies) since it goes through a different channel than government grants. And we have projects looking at greener power applications as well as problems of global good production. So, great! Sounds like a perfect match for you!
I have been fascinated by the comments in this thread. And I realize perhaps I mis-stated the question. The tacit assumption seems to have been that this may be a potential replacement for NSF/NIH funding or otherwise that can completely support a research lab.
And maybe it can. But I agree with all the posters that the chances of crowdfunding as a complete replacement for more traditional funding sources are highly unlikely. As everyone has noted, #SciFund is targeting pieces of research programs rather than whole labs (although we do have some folk trying for a chunk of their salary). And perhaps it is no accident that the first time around, the disciplines and scientists that have been attracted to #SciFund are not ones who are trying to purchase or use multi-million dollar pieces of equipment.
So, perhaps the question should be, Crowdfunding for science - when and where can it be used successfully?
Because, really, the answer to the first question, can it succeed at all for any project, no matter the size, rests on folk like you. But what are its best uses? That's a bigger issue that I'd love to hear more thoughts about, as we're still grappling with it.
(FYI, we'll also be doing a formal analysis of all of the projects and their funding records at the end of the 45 day funding period - #SciFund runs through Dec 15th, so, we have pulled in $40K now, but we still have a month left to get more, if you want to contribute and help us figure out what projects are really capturing people's imagination when it comes to funding.)
Not always. Entire projects in, say, Ecology can be done for the cost of one sequence. Theoretical modeling can require little more than a laptop, pen, and paper. Already, many prototype or preliminary research experiments get done on the shoestring budget at the end of a grant. Big Science does not always mean Big Money. And maybe that's the kind of research crowdfunding is suited for.
Yup, this is indeed small for now. If you total up all of the projects and what we're shooting for, though, it's about $250K, so, not tiny. Although, to give you context, we actually told all of the scientists to start small as this has never been tried on this scale before. It's an experiment, really, to see if it can work at all. Phase 2 is scaling up.
It should be noted, though, that many projects are asking for amounts that are reasonable within their discipline. We have a lot of ecologists whose needs for running and analyzing experiments often fall in the $1-5K range, rather than hundreds of thousands of dollars. For example, I'm seeking ~$7K to fund two days of sampling in kelp forests in the California Channel Islands. It's not huge, but it's what is needed for the kind of data I collect.
Needs vary greatly between disciplines and projects.
As one of the co-founders of #SciFund, I'm curious, after you slashdotters go and look at the projects at http://scifund.rockethub.com and their videos and rewards, would YOU crowdfund these projects? (and if you would, then by all means, do so!) This is the first time we're trying this on any scale, and so have chosen to start with small projects that, if they don't get funded, won't set back anyone's research program. What we're really curious is if the science literate and science interested people like YOU would go over, see what scientists have up, and say "Yeah, I'll fund that."?
And if you want more background, check the articles our scientists are writing about this process.
When the original Xbox video-game console went on sale in 2001, it wasn't clear why Microsoft, known for staid workplace software, was branching out into fast-paced action games. But Microsoft decided that capitalizing on the popularity of gaming could help the company position itself for the coming wave of home digital entertainment.
"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN