Background: First coined by Howe in 2006, the field of crowdsourcing has grown exponentially. Despite its growth and its transcendence across many fields, the definition of crowdsourcing has still not been agreed upon, and examples are poorly indexed in peer-reviewed literature. Many examples of crowdsourcing have not been scaled-up past the pilot phase. In spite of this, crowdsourcing has great potential, especially in global health where resources are lacking. This narrative review seeks to review both indexed and grey crowdsourcing literature broadly in order to explore the current state of the field.
Methods: This is a review of reviews of crowdsourcing. Semantic searches were conducted using Google Scholar rather than indexed databases due to poor indexing of the topic. 996 articles were retrieved, of which 69 were initially identified as being reviews or theoretically-based. 21 of these were found to be irrelevant and 48 articles were reviewed.
Results: This narrative review focuses on defining crowdsourcing, taxonomies of crowdsourcing, who constitutes the crowd, research that is amenable to crowdsourcing, regulatory and ethical aspects of crowdsourcing and some notable examples of crowdsourcing.
Conclusions: Crowdsourcing has the potential to be hugely promising, especially in global health, due to its ability to collect information rapidly, inexpensively and accurately. Rigorous ethical and regulatory controls are needed to ensure data are collected and analysed appropriately and crowdsourcing should be considered complementary to traditional research methods.
- Journal Article