Crowdfunding Science Frees the Mind
Finding funding is a constant struggle for scientists interested in the mind-body connection and other phenomena on the fringe—or completely outside—of mainstream science.
While many online readers engage eagerly with these topics, academia hangs aloof. But some researchers are turning popular interest into the money needed to keep exploring the mysteries of the human body and consciousness.
An Indiegogo crowdfunding project to create an online digital library of some 500,000 works on mind-body phenomena has raised more than $16,000 of its $50,000 goal. The Integrated Studies Historical Archives and Repository (ISHAR), which is creating the library, wrote: “Currently, finding credible factual information in the mind/body healing, research, and practice online is difficult, or too confusing for many online users. … ISHAR will curate, archive, and store the entire compendium of mind/body research—especially the advancements made in the past 10 years with integrative health—into one seamless and complete location for research organizations and doctors.”
The Internet is flooded with false information both from “skeptic organizations” and groups or individuals who support these studies, ISHAR said. The credible studies are spread across various platforms, sometimes difficult to find.
“Researchers have to scour through medical archives in too many different locations and are left unsure of what else is out there.” ISHAR hopes to add to the 10,000 texts it already has archived and to provide not only a single stop for researchers, but also an alternative to questionable content online for a general readership: “Many in the mind/body community—from doctors to professors to practitioners—are citing the many problems with Wikipedia around mind/body topics.”
Another example of the use of crowdfunding along these lines was mentioned by long-time near-death-experiences researcher Robert Mays at the International Association for Near-Death Studies conference last month. Near-death experiencers often report that the consciousness leaves the physical body and observes real scenes both in this world and the next. Mays said a book in Dutch titled “Wat een stervend brein niet kan” (“What a Dying Brain Cannot Do”) contains dozens of cases in which patients saw things after having left their bodies that were later verified and that they could not have seen through normal sensory perception. The authors are considering crowdfunding to get this book translated to English to make it available to the public and to more researchers.