Crowdsourcing for bioinformatics

B. M. Good, A. I. Su
2013 Bioinformatics  
Motivation: Bioinformatics is faced with a variety of problems that require human involvement. Tasks like genome annotation, image analysis, knowledge-base construction and protein structure determination all benefit from human input. In some cases people are needed in vast quantities while in others we need just a few with very rare abilities. Crowdsourcing encompasses an emerging collection of approaches for harnessing such distributed human intelligence. Recently, the bioinformatics
more » ... has begun to apply crowdsourcing in a variety of contexts, yet few resources are available that describe how these human-powered systems work and how to use them effectively in scientific domains. Results: Here, we provide a framework for understanding and applying several different types of crowdsourcing. The framework considers two broad classes: systems for solving large-volume 'microtasks' and systems for solving high-difficulty 'megatasks'. Within these classes, we discuss system types including: volunteer labor, games with a purpose, microtask markets and open innovation contests. We illustrate each system type with successful examples in bioinformatics and conclude with a guide for matching problems to crowdsourcing solutions.
doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btt333 pmid:23782614 pmcid:PMC3722523 fatcat:ri3amjraxbg55ky7oh5yjqjfwa