Trade-offs in motivating volunteer effort: Experimental evidence on voluntary contributions to science

Autoři: Elizabeth Lyons aff001;  Laurina Zhang aff002
Působiště autorů: School of Global Policy & Strategy, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States of America aff001;  Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology 800 W Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224946


Digitization has facilitated the proliferation of crowd science by lowering the cost of finding individuals with the willingness to participate in science without pay. However, the factors that influence participation and the outcomes of voluntary participation are unclear. We report two findings from a field experiment on the world’s largest crowd science platform that tests how voluntary contributions to science are affected by providing clarifying information on either the desired outcome of a scientific task or the labor requirements for completing the task. First, there is significant heterogeneity in the motivations and ability of contributors to crowd science. Second, both of the information interventions lead to significant decreases in the quantity and increases in the quality of contributions. Combined, our findings are consistent with the information interventions improving match quality between the task and the volunteer. Our findings suggest that science can be democratized by engaging individuals with varying skill levels and motivations with small changes in the information provided to participants.

Klíčová slova:

Astronomy – Attention – Grasses – Motivation – Research validity – Scientists – Shrubs – Surveys


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Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11