If you're interested in getting involved with a citizen science project but don't know where to begin, I can give you some tips. A quick Google search for "citizen science projects" brings up hundreds of results. It gets really overwhelming really quickly. You can narrow your search by what field or topic you're interested in, but you'll still have dozens to choose from. If you're just getting started, I would recommend checking out Zooniverse.
Zooniverse is a fantastic one-stop-shop website to get involved in a citizen-based research project. They have a huge range of fields that they actively conduct research in: Arts, Biology, Climate, History, Language, Literature, Medicine, Nature, Physics, and Social Sciences. As you can see, they go beyond just the sciences and into the humanities, so whatever your interest is they are bound to have something for you!
Public engagement is a huge component of how scientists communicating their research to the public, and I hope that by finding a citizen science project you will join the community and engage in scientific research.
As my favorite childhood character, Tigger, would say: TTFN!
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
-- Carl Sagan
I knew at a very young age that I wanted to pursue science. I liked it, I was good at it, I was always asking questions anyway -- it just made sense. Not everyone is as fortunate as me, finding their passion at the age of 9. However, some are, but they know 100% that they do NOT want to do science. More power to you, we need passionate people in all fields, regardless of what it is! But for everyone in between -- for those who like science but aren't "good" at it, for those who "couldn't compete" in classroom, for those who enjoy the findings of science but have no desire to sit in a lab all day -- there is a fabulous and simple way for you to get involved.
I present to you: CITIZEN SCIENCE! We are in the era of enormous data sets. Technology has surpassed the human ability to keep up with it all, yet human analysis will always be superior to a machine (in my humble opinion). Scientists found the answer -- get more people! But getting more specialists is a difficult and expensive endeavor, so scientists have turned to the general public. Non-experts can sift through the data as a first pass and flag anything interesting. The flags are reported to specialists, who then make that particular data a priority for analysis. This is a zero-pressure and fun way to get involved. If you're wrong, no biggie. If you're right, you just helped with a scientific discovery! And you can do this all from the comfort of your own home. No lab coats, no writing code, no wandering the landscape looking for a specimen, no staying up all night gathering data. Just you, your computer, and your sweatpants.
Stay tuned for more ways for you to get involved with a citizen science project!
"The Universe is a pretty big place. If it's just us, seems like an awful waste of space."
-- Carl Sagan
A blog and website by graduate students from science disciplines and departments throughout the University of Wyoming. We hope you connect with our science communication and engagement efforts. Please let us know what you think of the site!