Research Crowdfunding and Scholarly Communication: A Case Study of Three Campaigns

  1. Dana Haugh

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Description: Crowdfunding leverages the opportunities of online social networks to share ideas and connect individuals by seeking small donations from a large number of supporters in order to complete a project or develop a product. Research crowdfunding is emerging as a dynamic alternative or supplement to grant-funded research, particularly for low-cost research, researchers at institutions without strong traditions of grants-funded research, and high-risk or unconventional research with few or no sponsors. For some researchers, crowdfunding enables new and novel collaborations between researchers, entrepreneurs, artists, social and environmental activists, as well as facilitating unexpected uses and expressions of research. Through the lens of three qualitative crowdfunding campaign studies this article explores how crowdfunding conventions and platforms influence and impact the way research is used, communicated, shared, and in some cases performed. Successful crowdfunding relies on engagement and audience support -- higher levels of support include exclusive affordances, including opportunities to participate in events, acknowledgement in publications, and access to the researchers via online or in-person meetings. Crowdfunding platforms offer researchers the framework to appeal for support and communicate the details and progress of their research in a personal, narrative style, often utilizing video and social networks. This article will examine the new opportunities for communicating, sharing, and using research that crowdfunding facilitates through a case study of three crowdfunding campaigns.

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