Crowdsourcing dinosaur science
The recently initiated Open Dinosaur project is an excellent example of crowdsourcing in science. The people behind the project are enlisting volunteers to find skeletal measurements from dinosaurs in published articles and submit them into a common database. Or as they put it, “Essentially, we aim to construct a giant spreadsheet with as many measurements for ornithischian dinosaur limb bones as possible.” All contributors (anyone can participate) get to be co-authors on the paper that will be submitted at the end of the project.
One good thing about the project is that its originators have obviously taken pains to help the participants get going. They’ve put up comprehensive tutorials about dinosaur bone structure (!) and about how to locate relevant references and find the correct information in them.
As of yesterday, they had over 300 verified entries, after just ten days. It will be interesting to see other similar efforts in the future.