Patches is a collaboration platform that facilitates public participation in scientific research.
The recent availability of open source hardware and web technologies—specifically tools for data collection and analysis— has created space for new models of collaboration and governance around scientific research. These new practices challenge historical distinctions between credentialed scientists and amateur experts (“citizen scientists”), and increase the tension between these practitioners’ expectations and the groups they represent. Partnerships that manage to succeed in this environment often do so by building their own platforms for knowledge transfer and access to technological tools. Unfortunately, these platforms are usually siloed, fragment the community at large and make it difficult to assess scientific outcomes relative to other projects.
Patches is an online hub for credentialed and non-credentialed researchers, makers, hackers and scientists interested in contributing to environmental science projects . This communal space and its tools facilitates partnership creation, project coordination and discovery within the expanding world of citizen-based science.