Crowdsourcing and Curation: Perspectives from Biology and Natural Language Processing

Authored by  L Hirschman*, K Fort*, S Boue, N Kyrpides*, RI Do─čan*, KB Cohen*

Published in Database: The Journal of Biological Databases and Curation┬á    
* This author is not affiliated with PMI.


Crowdsourcing is increasingly utilized for performing tasks in both natural language processing and biocuration. Although there have been many applications of crowdsourcing in these fields, there have been fewer high-level discussions of the methodology and its applicability to biocuration. This paper explores crowdsourcing for biocuration through several case studies that highlight different ways of leveraging ‘the crowd’; these raise issues about the kind(s) of expertise needed, the motivations of participants, and questions related to feasibility, cost and quality. The paper is an outgrowth of a panel session held at BioCreative V (Seville, September 9–11, 2015). The session consisted of four short talks, followed by a discussion. In their talks, the panelists explored the role of expertise and the potential to improve crowd performance by training; the challenge of decomposing tasks to make them amenable to crowdsourcing; and the capture of biological data and metadata through community editing.