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OpenSource Cures?

How many of you have heard of opensource software? I am sure many of you have seen or at least used a piece of open sourced software. Well if you dont know, open source means that someone has developed an application and allows others to see the code and modify it as they wish. So as a result people take a look at it and modify it resulting in many many different versions of a particular software. Ultimately it ends up with one software that is the best of all of them. I have long viewed this as the best way to create software, and have wondered why scientists do not use a process similar to this with the general public. Well it looks like it has finally happened. I was recently reading my daily news stories and came upon this article: Crowdsourcing Science Promises Hope For Curing Deadly Disease. Basically a scientist realized that she had alot of basic work to do and that she could spend years applying for grants to do it or she could crowdsource it to the public. She chose the latter, and within three days she had all of what would of taken 3 months work completed. It was much faster and it returned results with 95% accuracy. It saved her a bunch of time and will immensely hasten her research. Now my question is why don’t more scientists do this type of research. There are so many people out there that can help and you never know, some random person might be the key to curing cancer or HIV. I understand that their is the issue of accuracy but I honestly think that at least offering research to the public couldn’t hurt. Hopefully this type of research will expand to more projects and will turn out like my favorite software do: an ultimate cure. What do you think some of the problems that could arise from crowdsourcing are? Do you think there is a solution.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 7, 2011 at 2:37 am

    I think the idea presented in this post is a very interesting one that could prove to be very beneficial if used under the right circumstances, but I also believe that the potential for human error is quite large, which could have disastrous consequences for the experiment. Experiments often take months if not years to complete to ensure there are no mistakes and to make sure criticism from all direction can be deflected. I feel that a method like the one discussed above would leave an experiment open to criticism and many people, especially those in the scientific community would question of validity of an experiment that uses this method.

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