What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the use of mass social media, smart-phones and easy access to data and the internet to levy the power of many peoples effort and knowledge. On this site we hope to use this power to help combat ash dieback.

The work of scientists can be transformed by crowd-sourcing. Recently genomic scientists were able to genome sequence a novel strain of bacteria (E.coli O104:H4) that caused a serious outbreak of foodborne illness in northern Germany in late spring 2011. These scientists were able to quickly link up with others across the world with similar skills to rapidly analyse the novel pathogenic strain.

The analyses that the contributors carried out were quickly shared back with other contributors. As a crowd these workers were able to filter the best, criticise, verify and improve each others contributions and massively reduce the time it takes to get important research information into the public-domain. This ‘live peer-review’ was the critical factor that distinguished this project.

Our aim with this website is to make it possible to apply crowdsourcing to the emergent pathogen ash dieback. We will share data through this site so that anyone, anywhere interested in helping to solve the problem of ash dieback can access what they need. We will also accept the results files from anyone who wishes to share and make sure they are properly credited with their discoveries and contributions.