Inderscience Publishers

Outsourcing labour to the cloud

Various forms of open sourcing to the online population are establishing themselves as cheap, effective methods of getting work done. These have revolutionised the traditional methods for innovation and have contributed to the enrichment of the concept of 'open innovation'. To date, the literature concerning this emerging topic has been spread across a diverse number of media, disciplines and academic journals. This paper attempts for the first time to survey the emerging phenomenon of open outsourcing of work to the internet using 'cloud computing'. The paper describes the volunteer origins and recent commercialisation of this business service. It then surveys the current platforms, applications and academic literature. Based on this, a generic classification for crowdsourcing tasks and a number of performance metrics are proposed. After discussing strengths and limitations, the paper concludes with an agenda for academic research in this new area.

Keywords: crowdsourcing, open innovation, cloud computing, micro-outsourcing, evaluation, geometric reasoning, open sourcing, online population, virtual communities, web based communities, online communities, internet, world wide web, labour costs, volunteers, volunteering, commercialisation, commercial platforms, applications, Amazon, MTurk, MechanicalTurk, online retailing, electronic retailing, e-retailing, creation tasks, crowd types, crowds, industrial manufacturing, sustainable development, sustainability

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