Volunteer computing: A model of the factors determining contribution to community-based scientific research

Oded Nov, David Anderson, Ofer Arazy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    Volunteer computing is a powerful way to harness distributed resources to perform large-scale tasks, similarly to other types of community-based initiatives. Volunteer computing is based on two pillars: the first is computational - allocating and managing large computing tasks; the second is participative - making large numbers of individuals volunteer their computer resources to a project. While the computational aspects of volunteer computing received much research attention, the participative aspect remains largely unexplored. In this study we aim to address this gap: by drawing on social psychology and online communities research, we develop and test a three-dimensional model of the factors determining volunteer computing users' contribution. We investigate one of the largest volunteer computing projects - SETI@home - by linking survey data about contributors' motivations to their activity logs. Our findings highlight the differences between volunteer computing and other forms of community-based projects, and reveal the intricate relationship between individual motivations, social affiliation, tenure in the project, and resource contribution. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10
    Pages741-750
    Number of pages10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2010
    Event19th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW2010 - Raleigh, NC, United States
    Duration: Apr 26 2010Apr 30 2010

    Publication series

    NameProceedings of the 19th International Conference on World Wide Web, WWW '10

    Other

    Other19th International World Wide Web Conference, WWW2010
    CountryUnited States
    CityRaleigh, NC
    Period4/26/104/30/10

    Keywords

    • boinc
    • citizen science
    • crowdsourcing
    • motivations
    • online communities
    • seti@home
    • volunteer computing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Networks and Communications
    • Computer Science Applications

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