Milestones and marathons

Milestone

This morning, round 2 of #SciFund passed the $80,000 mark for contributions.

Let’s do a quick review of where we are overall for both rounds of #SciFund.

  • We’ve raised over $150,000 for original scientific research over both rounds… so far.
  • We’ve fully funded 27 research projects… so far.
  • Our rate of funding success is slightly higher than the National Institutes of Health last year, and is comparable to the National Science Foundation. You can see that data in Jai’s post on the Scientific American Guest Blog last week.

All of this is awesome and exciting. But increasingly, what I’m thinking about is not what the next four days will bring for the #SciFund participants, but what the next four years will bring.

The real accomplishment will be when those peer reviewed research papers come out that say in the Acknowledgements section, “This research supported by contributions to the #SciFund Challenge.” And then watching how those papers find their place in the scientific literature.

Many of our #SciFund participants are early career scientists, too: graduate students and postdocs and so on. I want to see how their #SciFund experience carries through their career path. I think it will be a plus for them, because it shows initiative and communication abilities.

Then there is the larger issue of how science crowdfunding will start to fit into the scientific ecosystem. We’ve learned in this past month that the first round of #SciFund was not a freak, fluke, happenstance, or  one-off. In a few years, it might be normal for some scientists to crowdfund their research.

It’s easy to track success during the crowdfunding process and feel the excitement. But science is about the hard yards and the long haul. That’s where the real achievement will begin.

Photo by Pete Reed on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.