I guess most researchers look for money to explore ideas. With little funding they can run initial experiments and find out if an idea is worthy of a grant proposal. But processing small donations comes with difficulties for researchers.
The website SciFlies is preparing to offer a solution. At SciFlies researchers can sign on to build a profiling profile to present themselves and their research projects. On the profile they can present their research vision, past accomplishments, interests and even their current reading list. Website visitors can then donate and support the projects they find most worthwhile. SciFlies provides a mechanism that allows small financial contributions to accumulate and get delivered at some later point.
This model may be interesting for us and the Virtual Home portal, once we think about ways to reach out to the community. It could create long-term interest in researchers and their work. But more importantly, it provides a powerful incentive for researchers to update their profiles.
By the way, the thoughts behind the name “SciFlies” are pretty unique. It says: “It’s a homage to the ubiquitous fruitfly research model, a shorthand description of the goal to create a ‘swarm’ of science supporters, and a reference to ‘fly’, a slang term for cool.”
P.S. The SciFlies website is work in progress. I will update the blog as soon as the website is fully launched.