Academia in the fore! Crowdsourcing and disaster management.

Hi all,

This is my first time in a Thatcamp and I fully support new ways of looking at issues.

There has been a growing concern on two aspects of academic discourse:
1) the delay between research and publication time
2) the increasingly theoretical aspect of research

Although both aspects are being improved (through online pre-publication on academic articles or policy based opinion pieces), the chasm between other media and traditional academic publications still remains wide, especially when a national catastrophe requires urgent analysis and policy response.

The earthquake in Japan and the subsequent nuclear meltdown in Fukushima prefecture introduced the possibility of crowd sourcing as a way to understand the extent of the damage and to start a faster way of allowing academics to have an impact on the discourse of actions as understood by the social and traditional media and policy makers. For example, the crowd sourcing of radiation data has enabled a faster collection of data for analysis.

Today Cyprus is facing its own crisis through the Mari explosion that occurred on the 11th of July. An initiative of a syndicated blog and the printed press seems to have been able to push the discussion of what is to be done in the forefront more rapidly than other traditional media, and has spurred other notable research on the economic effects of the explosion to publish results and policy recommendations faster. However the impact on policy makers has remained minimal, and there was no attempt of cross -collaboration between researchers using novel techniques.

I would like to have a discussion in how we can use crowd sourcing in order for academics to be able to both publish academic research on issues of national emergency and influence policy, and how traditional issues of copyright, idea and patent control and of impact factors can be adapted and/or adjusted to take such things into account.

Categories: proposed sessions |

About alexapostolides

A graduate of the London School of Economics, Alexander is currently working in a project co-sponsored by the CCCI to estimate the economic interdependence of the two communities in Cyprus and the economic effects of a future solution. He specialises in GDP estimation, and has been the first person to estimate costs of the naval base explosion on the 15th of July, 201. Dr Alexander will be the projects co-ordinator and responsible for the final paper and nay presentations.

2 Responses to Academia in the fore! Crowdsourcing and disaster management.

  1. In my case I found that interacting with new and old media has had an effect in stimulating debate and making the research on the Mari explosion more open and immediate by all – something I am very happy about. At the same time, in crude academic career terms, those who worked on creative commons and new platforms got nothing out of it. No citations, no impact in assessing our careers. I would like to see how people think they can link crowd-sourcing with also giving credit where is due in order for careers not to suffer.

  2. chrystalleni says:

    I share a lot of your concerns. There is a real contradiction between traditional academic credit requirements and the need for information to be put to immediate use. In any case I think we could do worse than acquaint ourselves with some of the tools that could help us put together some sort of crisis management infrastructure. I think it is especially interesting to think about how crowdsourcing could work specifically in/for Cyprus. Perhaps one place to start would be to compare other examples to the radiation data Safecast you mentioned. Here’s another one: a UK initiative tracking various service/funding cuts using the Ushahidi platform [ ]

Comments are closed.