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Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods and services, including ideas and finances, from a large, relatively open and often rapidly-evolving group of internet users;

Crowdsourcing comes from a less-specific, more public group, whereas outsourcing is commissioned from a specific, named group, and includes a mix of bottom-up and top-down processes.[6][7][8]

Some forms of crowdsourcing, such as in 'idea competitions' or 'innovation contests' provide ways for organizations to learn beyond the 'base of minds' provided by their employees (e.g.

'Simply defined, crowdsourcing represents the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call.

Brabham, 'the first [person] to publish scholarly research using the word crowdsourcing' and writer of the 2013 book, Crowdsourcing, defined it as an 'online, distributed problem-solving and production model.'[15][16]

Guth and Brabham, found that the performance of ideas offered in crowdsourcing platforms are affected not only by their quality, but also by the communication among users about the ideas, and presentation in the platform itself.[13]

'Crowdsourcing is a type of participative online activity in which an individual, an institution, a nonprofit organization, or company proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowledge, heterogeneity, and number, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task.

The user will receive the satisfaction of a given type of need, be it economic, social recognition, self-esteem, or the development of individual skills, while the crowdsourcer will obtain and use to their advantage that which the user has brought to the venture, whose form will depend on the type of activity undertaken'.

As mentioned by the definitions of Brabham and Estellés-Arolas and Ladrón-de-Guevara above, crowdsourcing in the modern conception is an IT-mediated phenomenon, meaning that a form of IT is always used to create and access crowds of people.[17][18]

Crowdsourcing may produce solutions from amateurs or volunteers working in their spare time or from experts or small businesses, which were previously unknown to the initiating organization.[5]

In response to a challenge from the French government, Nicolas Appert won a prize for inventing a new way of food preservation that involved sealing food in air-tight jars.[35]

One of the biggest crowdsourcing campaigns was a public design contest in 2010, hosted by the Indian government's finance ministry to create a symbol for the Indian rupee.

“As the cause of ‘Falling Stars’ is not understood by meteorologists, it is desirable to collect all the facts attending this phenomenon, stated with as much precision as possible,” Olmsted wrote to readers, in a report subsequently picked up and pooled to newspapers nationwide.

responses helped him make a series of scientific breakthroughs, the major discovery being that meteor showers are seen nationwide, and fall from space under the influence of gravity.

Energy system models require large and diverse datasets, increasingly so given the trend towards greater temporal and spatial resolution.[41]

Many companies are introducing crowdsourcing to grow their engineering capabilities and find solutions to unsolved technical challenges and the need to adopt newest technologies such as 3D printing, IOT, etc.

The rise of personal DNA testing, after the turn of the century, by companies such as Gene by Gene, FTDNA, GeneTree, 23andMe, and, has led to public and semipublic databases of DNA testing which uses crowdsourcing techniques.

Since 2005, the Genographic Project, has used the latest genetic technology to expand our knowledge of the human story, and its pioneering use of DNA testing to engage and involve the public in the research effort has helped to create a new breed of 'citizen scientist.'

Geno 2.0 expands the scope for citizen science, harnessing the power of the crowd to discover new details of human population history.[58]

The leading daily newspaper in Sweden has successfully used crowdsourcing in investigating the home loan interest rates in the country in 2013-2014, resulting to over 50,000 submissions.[59]

The leading daily newspaper in Finland crowdsourced investigation in stock short selling in 2011-2012, and the crowdsourced information lead to a revelation of a sketchy tax evasion system in a Finnish bank.

Crowdsourcing is used in libraries for OCR corrections on digitized texts, for tagging and for funding, especially in the absence of financial and human means.[78]:5 Volunteer can contribute explicitly with conscious effort or implicitly without being known by turnning the text on the raw newspaper image into human corrected digital form.[78]:16

Currently, crowdsourcing has transferred mainly to the Internet, which provides a particularly beneficial venue for crowdsourcing since individuals tend to be more open in web-based projects where they are not being physically judged or scrutinized, and thus can feel more comfortable sharing.

'The crowdsourced problem can be huge (epic tasks like finding alien life or mapping earthquake zones) or very small ('where can I skate safely?').

Some examples of successful crowdsourcing themes are problems that bug people, things that make people feel good about themselves, projects that tap into niche knowledge of proud experts, subjects that people find sympathetic or any form of injustice.'

Explicit crowdsourcing lets users work together to evaluate, share, and build different specific tasks, while implicit crowdsourcing means that users solve a problem as a side effect of something else they are doing.

Standalone allows people to solve problems as a side effect of the task they are actually doing, whereas piggyback takes users' information from a third-party website to gather information.[81]

Some common categories of crowdsourcing can be used effectively in the commercial world, including crowdvoting, crowdsolving, crowdfunding, microwork, creative crowdsourcing, crowdsource workforce management, and inducement prize contests.

The Iowa Electronic Market is a prediction market that gathers crowds' views on politics and tries to ensure accuracy by having participants pay money to buy and sell contracts based on political outcomes.[86]

Through principal component analysis, the users are then placed into an online 'café' in which they can present their own political opinions and grade the suggestions of other participants.

On reddit, users collectively rate web content, discussions and comments as well as questions posed to persons of interest in 'AMA' and AskScience online interviews.

Using a mobile app the fans voted on the day-to-day operations of the team, the mascot name, signing of players and even the offensive playcalling during games.[92]

While crowdsourcing competitions have been used for decades in some creative fields (such as architecture), creative crowdsourcing has proliferated with the recent development of web-based platforms where clients can solicit a wide variety of creative work at lower cost than by traditional means.

Chicago-based startup Crowdfind, formerly 'crowdfynd', uses a version of crowdsourcing best termed as crowdsearching, which differs from microwork in that no payment for taking part in the search is made.[107]

Their platform, through geographic location anchoring, builds a virtual search party of smartphone and Internet users to find lost items, pets, or persons, as well as returning them.

Crowdfunding is the process of funding projects by a multitude of people contributing a small amount to attain a certain monetary goal, typically via the Internet.[108]

Individuals, businesses, and entrepreneurs can showcase their businesses and projects to the entire world by creating a profile, which typically includes a short video introducing their project, a list of rewards per donation, and illustrations through images.

Advocates of regulation claimed that crowdfunding would open up the flood gates for fraud, called it the 'wild west' of fundraising, and compared it to the 1980s days of penny stock 'cold-call cowboys'.

Companies under the then-current proposal would have exemptions available and be able to raise capital from a larger pool of persons, which can include lower thresholds for investor criteria, whereas the old rules required that the person be an 'accredited' investor.

When choosing tasks, since only certain users “win”, users learn to submit later and pick less popular tasks to increase the likelihood of getting their work chosen.[116]

While an example of macrowork would be writing survey feedback, simple projects rather include activities like writing a basic line of code or programming a database, which both require a larger time commitment and skill level.

Tasks like that would be “complex” because design is a meticulous process that requires a large amount of time to perfect, and also people doing these projects must have specialized training in design to effectively complete the project.

Web-based idea competitions or inducement prize contests often consist of generic ideas, cash prizes, and an Internet-based platform to facilitate easy idea generation and discussion.

Another example of competition-based crowdsourcing is the 2009 DARPA balloon experiment, where DARPA placed 10 balloon markers across the United States and challenged teams to compete to be the first to report the location of all the balloons.

A collaboration of efforts was required to complete the challenge quickly and in addition to the competitive motivation of the contest as a whole, the winning team (MIT, in less than nine hours) established its own 'collaborapetitive' environment to generate participation in their team.[122]

A similar challenge was the Tag Challenge, funded by the US State Department, which required locating and photographing individuals in five cities in the US and Europe within 12 hours based only on a single photograph.

The winning team managed to locate three suspects by mobilizing volunteers worldwide using a similar incentive scheme to the one used in the balloon challenge.[123]

The company InnoCentive is a crowdsourcing platform for corporate research and development where difficult scientific problems are posted for crowds of solvers to discover the answer and win a cash prize, which can range from $10,000 to $100,000 per challenge.[16]

Rather than users actively participating in solving a problem or providing information, implicit crowdsourcing involves users doing another task entirely where a third party gains information for another topic based on the user's actions.[16]

Another popular use of implicit crowdsourcing is through reCAPTCHA, which asks people to solve CAPTCHAs to prove they are human, and then provides CAPTCHAs from old books that cannot be deciphered by computers, to digitize them for the web.

Piggyback crowdsourcing can be seen most frequently by websites such as Google that data-mine a user's search history and websites to discover keywords for ads, spelling corrections, and finding synonyms.

Crowdsifting (crowd-sifting) was defined in 2015 by Tim Causer and Melissa Terras as 'beginning with the traditional open call associated with crowdsourcing, and then encouraging the emergence of a self-selecting, smaller number of individuals with the skills, desire, and time to complete a complex task on a regular basis'.[134]

These include the ability to offload peak demand, access cheap labor and information, generate better results, access a wider array of talent than might be present in one organization, and undertake problems that would have been too difficult to solve internally.[139]

Crowdsourcing allows businesses to submit problems on which contributors can work, on topics such as science, manufacturing, biotech, and medicine, with monetary rewards for successful solutions.

Additionally, crowdsourcing from 100 million drivers is being used by INRIX to collect users' driving times to provide better GPS routing and real-time traffic updates.[150]

A previous study in 2008 by Ipeirotis found that users at that time were primarily American, young, female, and well-educated, with 40% earning more than $40,000 per year.

Another study of the demographics of the crowd at iStockphoto found a crowd that was largely white, middle- to upper-class, higher educated, worked in a so-called 'white-collar job' and had a high-speed Internet connection at home.[153]

Rather, crowds are often professionally trained in a discipline relevant to a given crowdsourcing task and sometimes hold advanced degrees and many years of experience in the profession.[153][154][155][156]

developed a taxonomy of nine crowdsourcing models (intermediary model, citizen media production, collaborative software development, digital goods sales, product design, peer-to-peer social financing, consumer report model, knowledge base building model, and collaborative science project model) in which to categorize the roles of community users, such as researcher, engineer, programmer, journalist, graphic designer, etc., and the products and services developed.[158]

Many scholars of crowdsourcing suggest that both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations cause people to contribute to crowdsourced tasks and these factors influence different types of contributors.[159][74][153][154][156][160][161][162]

For example, students and people employed full-time rate human capital advancement as less important than part-time workers do, while women rate social contact as more important than men do.[160]

In crowdsourced journalism, the motivation factors are intrinsic: the crowd is driven by a possibility to make social impact, contribute to social change and help their peers.[159]

Crowdworkers who frequently complete tasks in ways judged to be inadequate can be denied access to future tasks, providing motivation to produce high-quality work.[167]

Using crowdsourcing through means such as Amazon Mechanical Turk can help provide researchers and requesters with an already established infrastructure for their projects, allowing them to easily use a crowd and access participants from a diverse culture background.

The task of sorting through crowdworkers’ contributions, along with the necessary job of managing the crowd, requires companies to hire actual employees, thereby increasing management overhead.[170]

argue that, the prevailing practice of modeling crowdsourcing data collection tasks in terms of fixed classes (options), unnecessarily restricts quality.

Results demonstrate that information accuracy depends on the classes used to model domains, with participants providing more accurate information when classifying phenomena at a more general level (which is typically less useful to sponsor organizations, hence less common).

In effect, crowdsourcing simplifies the capital-raising process and allows entrepreneurs to spend more time on the project itself and reaching milestones rather than dedicating time to get it started.

This leads to entrepreneurs losing possible experience convincing investors who are wary of potential risks in investing because they do not depend on one single investor for the survival of their project.

Instead of being forced to assess risks and convince large institutional investors why their project can be successful, wary investors can be replaced by others who are willing to take on the risk.

Proponents argue that crowdsourcing is beneficial because it allows niche ideas that would not survive venture capitalist or angel funding, many times the primary investors in startups, to be started.

Many ideas are killed in their infancy due to insufficient support and lack of capital, but crowdsourcing allows these ideas to be started if an entrepreneur can find a community to take interest in the project.[182]

With high risk and small target markets, the pool of crowdsourced projects faces a greater possible loss of capital, lower return, and lower levels of success.[184]

In 2009, it was reported that United States Turk users earned an average of $2.30 per hour for tasks, while users in India earned an average of $1.58 per hour, which is below minimum wage in the United States (but not in India).[151][185]

The popular forum website reddit came under the spotlight during the first few days after the events of the Boston Marathon bombing as it showed how powerful social media and crowdsourcing could be.

The FBI has since warned the media to be more careful of where they are getting their information but Reddit's investigation and its false accusations opened up questions about what should be crowdsourced and the unintended consequences of irresponsible crowdsourcing.

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