The Science of Cheating: playing with the rules in citizen science games (with René Glas)
Industry terms like serious games and gamification convey, or at least suggest, that games and play can be designed and implemented in such a way that users are educated, persuaded, or trained through engaging the user in a playful manner. The concept of citizen science games takes this one step further, as such games implicitly or explicitly invite nonprofessionals to contribute to scientific research through play. In this paper we investigate cheating as a practice that is inextricably linked to play and its relation to the notion of citizen science and science itself. Both in (serious) game design as well as science, cheating is often seen as unruly and unwanted behavior which, when detected, can lead subsequently to the end of play and the end of academic careers. Using both a game studies as philosophy of science perspective, we however argue that, when opening up the scientific endeavor to “amateurs” through play, cheating offer new venues of critical engagement and social knowledge production.
Sybille Lammes is associate professor at the Department of Media and Culture Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University. She has published on SF film, games and digital cartography.
Recently she was awarded a 5 year ERC starting grant for her project “Charting the Digital.” As a principal investigator she will lead a research team that will investigate how digital maps can be simultaneously understood as new media, technologies and cartographies.