As many of you know, I don’t just write for fun. This is also how I make my living! If you’re curious about my science writing, my latest feature story for EARTH magazine – on scientists using crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter to fund research projects – just went live. Read about how these savvy scientists are avoiding the traditional grant grind by raising money for research projects using Kickstarter and other crowd-funding platforms. This story makes me want run my own Kickstarter campaign!
Crowdfunding platforms are ripe for fostering more communication between scientists and the general public, says Jai Ranganathan, a co-founder of SciFundChallenge.org, an organization that trains and encourages scientists to engage in crowdfunding through the platform RocketHub.com.
“Our interest in crowdfunding really came from our mission to close the gap between scientists and society. You can’t do crowdfunding unless you’re willing to engage with the public. Any cash generated comes second to the public outreach aspect, which is really priceless,” he says.
Surveys conducted by the National Science Foundation show that the American public generally has a positive view of science, but that scientific literacy — defined as “a good understanding of basic scientific terms, concepts, and facts; an ability to comprehend how science generates and assesses evidence; and a capacity to distinguish science from pseudoscience” — is low overall. For example, less than a third of Americans surveyed responded correctly to questions about how scientific experiments are conducted with controls and variables, with nearly 20 percent failing all the questions.
“The goal is a better understanding about how science works — the scientific method and the process of discovery,” Ranganathan says. “If people follow a scientist over the course of a year, they’ll see how scientific discovery happens and hopefully be able to better recognize junk science.”
To read the rest, click over to EARTH’s website.