To Crowdfund Research, Scientists Must Build an Audience for Their Work

Overview of attention for article published in PLoS ONE, December 2014
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
6 news outlets
blogs
12 blogs
twitter
272 tweeters
facebook
8 Facebook pages
googleplus
5 Google+ users
video
1 video uploader

Readers on

mendeley
88 Mendeley
citeulike
3 CiteULike
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Title
To Crowdfund Research, Scientists Must Build an Audience for Their Work
Published in
PLoS ONE, December 2014
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0110329
Pubmed ID
Authors

Jarrett E. K. Byrnes, Jai Ranganathan, Barbara L. E. Walker, Zen Faulkes

Abstract

As rates of traditional sources of scientific funding decline, scientists have become increasingly interested in crowdfunding as a means of bringing in new money for research. In fields where crowdfunding has become a major venue for fundraising such as the arts and technology, building an audience for one's work is key for successful crowdfunding. For science, to what extent does audience building, via engagement and outreach, increase a scientist's abilities to bring in money via crowdfunding? Here we report on an analysis of the #SciFund Challenge, a crowdfunding experiment in which 159 scientists attempted to crowdfund their research. Using data gathered from a survey of participants, internet metrics, and logs of project donations, we find that public engagement is the key to crowdfunding success. Building an audience or "fanbase" and actively engaging with that audience as well as seeking to broaden the reach of one's audience indirectly increases levels of funding. Audience size and effort interact to bring in more people to view a scientist's project proposal, leading to funding. We discuss how projects capable of raising levels of funds commensurate with traditional funding agencies will need to incorporate direct involvement of the public with science. We suggest that if scientists and research institutions wish to tap this new source of funds, they will need to encourage and reward activities that allow scientists to engage with the public.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 272 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 88 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 13 15%
Germany 2 2%
Brazil 2 2%
Spain 1 1%
Netherlands 1 1%
Canada 1 1%
Unknown 68 77%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 20 23%
Researcher 18 20%
Student > Master 12 14%
Student > Bachelor 9 10%
Professor > Associate Professor 7 8%
Other 22 25%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 28 32%
Social Sciences 14 16%
Business, Management and Accounting 11 13%
Computer Science 10 11%
Environmental Science 5 6%
Other 20 23%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 317. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 21 March 2017.
All research outputs
#15,208
of 7,585,461 outputs
Outputs from PLoS ONE
#439
of 108,133 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#555
of 235,793 outputs
Outputs of similar age from PLoS ONE
#20
of 2,472 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 7,585,461 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 108,133 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 10.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 235,793 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 2,472 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.