Scientific Crowdfunding in the Social Sciences and Humanities

Scientific Crowdfunding in the Social Sciences and t

How researchers from the social sciences and humanities (SSH) gain funding for their research and how much funding they receive depends on institutional budgets as well as on society’s perception of SSH. But individual research projects need individual funding. Scientific crowdfunding is a funding option that is customizable to researcher’s needs.

In the last few years, Web 2.0 has fundamentally changed the relationship between science and society. “New  forms  of  collaboration”  (UNESCO recommendation on Open Science 2021) have been established, scientific crowdfunding being one of them  ( for more information on OPERAS’s involvement in citizen science have a look at the COESO project). Numerous researchers have already benefited from scientific crowdfunding and raised funds for their sometimes extraordinary and innovative projects: Maria Zatko, an atmospheric scientist, raised funding for her research on ozone via online crowdfunding and so did Angela Bosco-Lauth, a  veterinary scientist, for her work on bat colonies. While these examples are taken from the natural sciences, crowdfunding offers an enormous potential to the SSH. Crowdfunding is indeed a relatively new option to fund research but the awareness as to which advantages it offers is growing continuously. Crowdfunding platforms in particular have helped to build this awareness. Studies suggest young and female researchers campaigning for smaller projects benefit from launching crowdfunding campaigns for their research in particular. 

Even though compared to “traditional” funding options, crowdfunding usually raises smaller funds, a crowdfunding campaign does provide specific advantages for research projects. Not only does it offer the opportunity to develop projects independently and autonomously from institutional and bureaucratic guidelines but in campaigning for their project researchers also gain a broader audience, making their communication skills more proficient and their project known.

Furthermore, scientific crowdfunding creates an opportunity to find new institutions and public initiatives for collaboration as well as for cooperation, as well as making possible to spread the ideas and to build the credibility and professional base to attract further  financial support.  Even though crowdfunding is, therefore, to be understood as a complementary funding option to more conventional ways of funding research, mainly in the SSH this way’s potential of generating funds is mostly still to be explored. 

Scientific crowdfunding like represented via the OPERAS crowdfunding channel, provided by We make it,  aims to close that gap between the opportunities and the realities  of crowdfunding in the SSH by offering a simple fundraising process that not only evaluates the project to be funded scientifically but also helps the researchers responsible campaigning for their research. 

Intrigued? Have a look at the OPERAS crowdfunding channel for more information.


#Funding

This post is part of the OPERAS Funding Series bringing together different approaches of funding in social sciences and humanities. In this series we update you about funding opportunities for social sciences and humanities research and cooperative projects as well as raising awareness for important funding topics. We will highlight the topic of funding from different perspectives and describe innovative ways of funding.  Funders and funding recipients cannot exist without each other, but they don’t always succeed in their search to find each other. In the funding world, not only do researchers/citizen scientists struggle to find the right match, but funders also struggle to attract sufficient and appropriate applicants. With this series, we want to support the dialogue between them.


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