Antecedents and Consequences of Crowdfunding Science

Björn Åberg

Student thesis: Master thesis


The phenomenon of crowdfunding science is a new topic and only anecdotal evidence exists for its use. In the past couple of years, there has been an increasing use of specialized science crowdfunding platforms, where researchers seek funds from the crowd to conduct scientific research. While the crowdfunding concept, especially crowd-investing, has been widely studied by practitioners and scholars alike, no scientific literature exists for the crowdfunding of science. By conducting a broad explorative study, with an inductive-deductive approach, this study is one of the first attempts made to understand what the antecedents and consequences are when crowdfunding science.
As a point of departure, relevant literature on crowdfunding, science funding, science communication and public policies are explored. A review of the literature from different scientific discourses is undertaken in order to inductively find relevant antecedents and consequences when crowdfunding science. With the methods of ‘triangulation’ and ‘theoretical sampling’, primary data is collected from 15 interviews consisting of 4 different sample groups. Likewise, with respect to the same methods, secondary data is collected from a variety of external sources. The primary and secondary data is analysed using a coding process method of ‘pre-coding’, ‘open coding’, ‘axial coding’ and ‘selective coding’ using the NVIVO software. Additionally, in order to gain a better understanding of the sub-categories of each antecedent and consequence and the relationship between them, a concept map becomes a necessity for the purpose of this study. The concept map shows the relationships the antecedents and consequences have to one another.
The result of this study indicates, that there are a number of motivational factors for researchers and crowd-donors to participate in crowdfunding. Likewise, there are also deterrents for researchers wanting to crowdfund science. There is a number of factors that influence the amount of funds that fund-seekers can raise with the crowdfunding of science mechanism. Such influences are: the skills of the researchers, the network of researchers, the attributes and characteristics of the crowdfunded projects, the help received from the science platforms and the pre-set funding goal of the crowdfunded science campaign. In addition, crowdfunding platforms play an important role and influence for the crowdfunding of science ecosystem, by their internal and external quality control mechanisms.
Furthermore, the findings of this study reveal that there is an amount of influences that determine whether or not crowdfunded science projects have a real impact and relevance for scientific advancement. The findings of this study further show that crowdfunding of science has many consequences for researchers, crowd-donors and universities who participate in it. In addition, there is some indication of a spill over effect from the crowdfunding ecosystem onto stakeholders who are external to its ecosystem. This spill over effect results in consequences for the relationship between the scientific community and the public, as well as for the consequences for science funding and public policies.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages97
SupervisorsMarion Poetz