I wrote a guest post on Occam’s Typewriter’s Irregulars blog, about crowdfunding research. Here’s a tiny fragment.
Research can’t guarantee any outcomes. You can’t promise funders that you’re going to cure a disease or find the last animal of a nearly-extinct species. You can only promise that you’ll work on it.
In that regard, it’s not that different from the technology or artistic products that are funded via Kickstarter. Sometimes, they don’t materialize. If a company raises money to develop a product, they can’t guarantee that they’ll definitely be able to create and mass-produce it. Last month, Kickstarter updated their guidelines for hardware and product design projects, to make it more clear to funders that the product is not yet ready, and that Kickstarter is not a store. They want to discourage people from offering the finished product as reward, and emphasize that funding should be a way to support the work of a person or company you care about.
Go there to read the whole thing. It has lots of links in it, too, so you can read about crowdfunding all day if you want to…