This is old but I missed it at the time. An Australian start-up company called Kaggle is offering cash prizes (hundreds to millions of dollars) to get modelers to compete against one another to solve prediction problems. Some recent competitions have been broadly relevant to (and should be open to attack by) quantitatively-minded ecologists, such as developing methods to avoid overfitting models to data, or to automatically recommend R packages. Here’s a write-up in Science.
Interestingly, in at least one case (predicting the progression of HIV infection in individual patients), the winning modelers came up with a better answer than the people who supplied the data!
I’m curious whether one could get this to work if the only incentive was co-authorship on a paper. For instance, I could imagine myself saying, “Here are long-term time series data for a bunch of competing species. I want to develop and parameterize a competition model for this community, and use it to predict the results of an independent study in which I subjected this community to a perturbation. The winning modelers and I will co-author a paper on our findings.” Think anyone would be interested in competing in such a contest?