Scientists@Home and in the Backyard: Understanding the Motivations of Contributors to Digital Citizen Science

Posted: 29 Aug 2010 Last revised: 10 Aug 2014

See all articles by Oded Nov

Oded Nov

New York University

Ofer Arazy

Independent

David Anderson

University of California, Berkeley - Space Sciences Laboratory

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Citizen science offers a low-cost way to both strengthen the scientific infrastructure and engage members of the public in science. Digital citizen science is based on two pillars. The first is technological: developing computer systems to manage large amounts of distributed resources. The second pillar is motivational: attracting and retaining people who would be willing to contribute their computing resources, skills, time, and effort to a scientific cause. While the technological aspect was widely studied, the motivational dimension received little attention to date. We surveyed 4376 volunteers in three citizen science projects, of varying task granularity levels, and found that collective and intrinsic motives are the most salient motivational factors, whereas reward motives seem to be less relevant to citizen scientists. In addition, we found that most motivational factors are susceptible to differences in the contribution’s task granularity. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Keywords: citizen science, motivations, crowdsourcing, volunteer computing, distributed computing, crowd computing

Suggested Citation

Nov, Oded and Arazy, Ofer and Anderson, David, Scientists@Home and in the Backyard: Understanding the Motivations of Contributors to Digital Citizen Science (2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1666501

Oded Nov (Contact Author)

New York University ( email )

Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Ofer Arazy

Independent

No Address Available

David Anderson

University of California, Berkeley - Space Sciences Laboratory ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

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