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Citizen Science: Get Involved

A portal to citizen science resources and opportunities at Carnegie Mellon, around Pittsburgh, and online.

Top Reasons to Get Involved

Whether you’re a professional scientist, a science enthusiast, a concerned citizen, or just an occasional dabbler, there are lots of great reasons to engage in citizen science. 

Reasons to volunteer as a citizen scientist include:

  • Learn, without pressure, about new areas
  • Develop new skills
  • Network, professionally or casually
  • Try a potential new career path
  • Feel good while volunteering, doing something for the greater good

 

Reasons for organizations and professional researchers to involve citizen scientists in their projects include:

  • Achieve more participation in research
  • Leverage the "wisdom of the crowd" to make breakthroughs and unlock new insight
  • Facilitate research on a bigger scale by adding additional people
  • Tap into new sources of information, knowledge and perspectives
  • Increase citizen engagement in scientific research and build stronger connections between citizens and scientists
  • Develop new methods
  • Improve openness and reliability of research
  • Ensure that citizens understand scientific research even better
  • Ensure that scientists and knowledge institutes understand current issues in society even better
  • Focus research on more relevant subjects and on citizens’ priorities
  • Improve scientific literacy among the general public (RIVM Magazine)

Citizen scientists dipnetting a mountain stream

 

NPS Photo by Ivie Metzen (CC BY 2.0)

Opportunities at CMU

The CMU Libraries’ Open Science and Data Collaborations (OSDC) program manages a range of initiatives aimed at supporting and improving public access to science and scientific products. We do this in three ways: through events, partnerships, and consultations.

Events

 

Partnerships

 

Consultations

For consultations on all things citizen science, including opportunities for students, community resources, and best practices for researchers and instructors, please contact Patrick Campbell using the information provided on CMU Libraries' Staff Profiles page

Opportunities in Pennsylvania

Projects in Pittsburgh

 

Projects in PA

 

 

Opportunities Online

There are many resources online for finding citizen science opportunities. Below is a small sampling of those resources. (Click the logo to visit the site.)

Staff Picks

This list contains a selection of hand-picked favorites recommended by OSDC Project Coordinator and resident Citizen Science expert, Patrick Campbell. If you're just getting started with citizen science, this list will expose you to some of the most important and innovative experiments in citizen science!

  1. Galaxy Zoo - Galaxy Zoo is a crowdsourced astronomy project which invites people to assist in the morphological classification of large numbers of galaxies. There have been 15 versions as of July 2017.
  2. Humanitarian OpenStreetMap - Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) is an international team dedicated to humanitarian action and community development through open mapping.
  3. Foldit - Foldit is an online puzzle video game about protein folding. It is part of an experimental research project developed by the University of Washington, Center for Game Science, in collaboration with the UW Department of Biochemistry.
  4. SETI@Home - SETI@home is a scientific experiment, based at UC Berkeley, that uses Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). You can participate by running a free program that downloads and analyzes radio telescope data. (This project is currently in hibernation mode, but still worth checking out!)
  5. Rosetta@Home - By running Rosetta@home on your computer when you're not using it you will speed up and extend our efforts to design new proteins and to predict their 3-dimensional shapes. 
  6. Polymath Project - The Polymath Project is a collaboration among mathematicians to solve important and difficult mathematical problems by coordinating many mathematicians to communicate with each other on finding the best route to the solution. 
  7. InnoCentive - InnoCentive is an open innovation and crowdsourcing company with its worldwide headquarters in Waltham, MA and their EMEA headquarters in London, UK. They enable organizations to put their unsolved problems and unmet needs, which are framed as ‘Challenges’, out to the crowd to address.

Check out our Citizen Science Featurettes workshop series to get a guided introduction to these projects and others in a low-stress, beginner-friendly environment. 

Project Databases and Platforms

Zooniverse

nature's notebook

scistarter
citizen science center adventure scientists Cornell Lab of Ornithology
nature conservancy iNaturalist Scientific American Citizen Science

 

Governmental Agencies with Citizen Science Projects

Smithsonian citizenscience.gov NASA

 

This work created by Rebekah Miller is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license; CC BY-NC 4.0