David Macdonald reports that 4000 people have read WildCRU’s new paper on crowdsourcing since it was published last month
Inspired by Linus Carl Pauling, the 1954 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, who remarked “The way to get good ideas is to get lots of ideas, and throw the bad ones away.” Dr Emre Can led a team of WildCRU and WAP researchers in an exploration of how crowdsourcing could help conservation. As a focus we chose tigers because, with around 3,200 tigers left in the wild, the governments of 13 tiger range countries have acknowledged a need for innovation to aid tiger research and conservation. In response, we created the “Think for Tigers” study to explore whether crowdsourcing could come up with new ideas for studying and monitoring tigers in the wild. For this first effort our expectation was not so much to come up with the magic answer but to explore the approach, and that is exactly what we describe in our paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.2001001
We found that the benefits of crowdsourcing are not restricted to harnessing the time, labour, and funds from the public. The approach can also harness creative thinking. Our paper describes not only what we did but also, and as a result of lessons learnt, suggestions for how a crowdsourcing initiative can best be used as a tool for generating ideas.