Volume 49 number 1 (2021)
(Abstract only) Southern skies teem with variables but there are relatively few research-oriented amateur astronomers to study them, so a centralized funded research organization is not realistic. Instead, Variable Stars Sourth (RASNZ) provides a very successful, virtual non-localized base for scattered southern variable star researchers to collaborate in a project-oriented manner without central services. This presentation illustrates that distributed but collaborative enterprise—rather different from the AAVSO model—by describing the very active work of the VSS’s Southern Eclipsing Binaries Project. It shows how each observer carries out their own data analysis on their light curves, and how cloud collaboration is used to automatically combine their analyses and derive further results from them. The presentation also shows with examples how those data are used by observers as the basis for more advanced research where again, individuals collaborate rather than using a central service. The approach has proved to be very productive over the seven years of the project.