Increasing crowd science projects in Japan: Case study of online citizen participation

Eiri Ono, Yuko Ikkatai, Teruaki Enoto


Scientific activities driven by citizens who are not specialists in the field are traditionally called “citizen science” contrary to conventional science, which is limited to professional researchers. Recent developments of web-based information and communication tech-nology (ICT) have further changed methods and styles of citizen science. This new generation of web-based citizen science is referred to as “crowd science” in this study. Crowd science projects have gradually been launched in Japan as web-based da-ta-collection and data-processing projects. However, what factors mainly contribute to success or failure of these Japanese projects is yet to be investigated. In this article, six Japanese crowd science projects are classified and sur-veyed on the basis of online citizen participation. We found that “super-volunteers,” who are enthusiastic members of the project, are suggested to become key players for the growth of the project, and that online discussion forums have played a major role in enhancing participants’
communication. It leads fruitful discussion and achievements of the project. Knowledge of these key components is beneficial for organizing future projects.

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