Sign of the times: Crowdfunding for scientific research

Elizabeth Payne, Ottawa Citizen, Jun 14, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I'm thinking that if I had to depend on crowd-funding to support my research I'd be in trouble. It's not that it isn't important and worthwhile - it's just that, of the top thousand things on a person's mind, my work isn't one of them. Which means they'd never get around to crowdfunding it. My newsletter is a bit more top-of-mind for people, but averaging $3000 a year isn't going to pay the bills. One of the reasons government funding - or public funding in general - works really well (and far better than free-market based approaches) is that it leverages the concept of bundling really well. Canadians agree on the whole that scientific research is important, and allocate a few hundred million (out of a budget of a few hundred billion) and let the civil service take care of the rest.

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