Gut Instinct: Creating Scientific Theories with Online Communities

Gut Instinct demonstrates how we might draw on people’s diverse background knowledge, interest, and micro-expertise to expand scientific knowledge and push it in new directions. More specifically, it enables participants of the American Gut Project (the world’s largest crowdfunded citizen science project) to generate and experimentally investigate hypotheses (Figure 1). 344 volunteers from 27 countries created 399 hypotheses about their health and the gut microbiome. Remarkably, microbiome scientists rated a fifth (75) of these hypotheses to have a scientifically valuable insight about a topic not covered by existing published work. Volunteers fleshed out 60 of these hypotheses into complete experimental designs. Gut Instinct (code + data) is open source so others can edit, build, and experiment. More here:

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