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Crowdsourced Health Research Studies: An Important Emerging Complement to Clinical Trials in the Public Health Research Ecosystem

document Distributed Knowledge
Crowdsourced health research studies are the nexus of three contemporary trends: 1) citizen science (non-professionally trained individuals conducting science-related activities); 2) crowdsourcing (use of web-based technologies to recruit project participants); and 3) medicine 2.0 / health 2.0 (active participation of individuals in their health care particularly using web 2.0 technologies). Crowdsourced health research studies have arisen as a natural extension of the activities of health social networks (online health interest communities), and can be researcher-organized or participant-organized. In the last few years, professional researchers have been crowdsourcing cohorts from health social networks for the conduct of traditional studies.
The objective of this analysis is to undertake a comprehensive narrative review of crowdsourced health research studies. This review will assess the status, impact, and prospects of crowdsourced health research studies. Their principal aim is to provide an overview of crowdsourced health research studies. The narrative will characterize the nature of current activity and highlight differences between crowdsourcing and traditional methodologies.


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