Crowd-sourced science: societal engagement, scientific authority and ethical practice

Johnston, S. F. , Franks, B. and Whitelaw, S. (2017) Crowd-sourced science: societal engagement, scientific authority and ethical practice. Journal of Information Ethics, 26(1), pp. 49-65.

119852.pdf - Accepted Version



This paper discusses the implications for public participation in science opened by the sharing of information via electronic media. The ethical dimensions of information flow and control are linked to questions of autonomy, authority, and appropriate exploitation of knowledge. It argues that, by lowering the boundaries that limit access and participation by wider active audiences, both scientific identity and practice are challenged in favor of extra-disciplinary and avocational communities such as scientific enthusiasts and lay experts. Reconfigurations of hierarchy, mediated by new channels of information flow, are increasingly visible at the interface between professional and non-professional practice. Setting the scene by surveying the role of the media in defining twentieth-century contexts of lay science, the paper illustrates the appropriation and recuperation of scientific authority being played out in two contemporary models of active public engagement: so-called "citizen science" and varieties of "crowd-sourced science." Both participatory models are increasingly reliant on information exchange via social media, but may be implemented to support distinctly different societal goals and beneficiaries.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Franks, Dr Benjamin and Johnston, Professor Sean and Whitelaw, Dr Alexander
Authors: Johnston, S. F., Franks, B., and Whitelaw, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social & Environmental Sustainability
Journal Name:Journal of Information Ethics
Publisher:McFarland & Company, Inc
ISSN (Online):1941-2894
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 McFarland & Company, Inc.
First Published:First published in Journal of Information Ethics 26(1): 49-65
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record