Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Citizen Science

As you might gather from my interest in science fiction and my weekly posts on science news, I have a keen interest in science. However, even though I work in a lab, my duties have changed so that I no longer get to perform research on the job. That doesn't mean the end of science for me, though, and anyone else interested in science can now find ways to participate via citizen science. With citizen science, nonprofessionals help professional scientists collect and analyze data. This could be anything from observing and counting birds in the wild to transcribing data.

Here are some of the sites where you can sign up to do citizen science:

Citizen Science Center

Scientific American Citizen Science

Citizen Science Alliance


I recently joined Zooniverse to help transcribe data. Perhaps if my son is interested, we could try a more active project at some point.

I don't think I've read any science fiction that uses citizen science, but it would be interesting to write one. That said, I'd have to think of an approach that honors contributions from both scientists and nonscientists.

Does citizen science appeal to you? If so, what kinds of projects would you like to try? Have you read any science fiction stories that make use of citizen science? I'd love to hear about them if you have.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting idea. Like an amateur detective. Do they need data on NetFlix? Because that kind of research I could easily perform.

Catherine Stine said...

Wow, this is very cool! I'd have to think for a while about what I'd do. Maybe some hybridization stuff.

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