Increasing the Depth of Crowd Involvement: Decision Making and Co-creation Challenges in Science

Susanne Beck

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


A growing number of research projects involve both professional scientists and members of the general public (ÆcrowdsÆ). Although the contributions of crowds are often limited to narrow tasks such as data collection or data processing, policymakers and science advocates call for more extensive involvement, including highly collaborative Æco-creationÆ. However, co-creation can be defined in different ways, making it difficult to understand its potential benefits as well as challenges. To provide greater conceptual clarity, we propose a framework that distinguishes the breadth of crowd involvement across one versus multiple stages of a research project from the depth of crowd involvement at a given stage. We also argue that the key distinguishing feature of deep involvement and of co-creation is that crowd contributions go beyond effort and knowledge to include active participation in decision-making. In the empirical part of the paper, we first apply this framework to characterize crowd involvement in ten co-created research projects across a range of fields. We then analyze qualitative data to explore challenges these projects faced, focusing on aspects that related specifically to crowd participation in decision-making. Our findings contribute to ongoing debates around crowd involvement in science and suggest important avenues for future research on coproduction in the context of science and innovation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventDRUID23 Conference - NOVA School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Jun 202312 Jun 2023
Conference number: 44


ConferenceDRUID23 Conference
LocationNOVA School of Business and Economics
Internet address


  • Crowd science
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Citizen science
  • Co-creation
  • Distributed knowledge production
  • Organization of science

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