Shark Week: A feeding frenzy for citizen scientists!

By Darlene Cavalier July 21st, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Comment

Sink your teeth into these projects!

Photo: Shark Count

The Discovery Channel kicks off Shark Week in three days, when we’ll will find out if Michael Phelps is faster than a shark! Not quite up for racing a shark yourself? You can still celebrate Shark Week by getting involved in one of the many citizen science projects that study and protect sharks. Below, we’ve highlighted five projects we think you’ll love. In some cases, you can even participate from the comfort of home. Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later. Remember to update your profile before August 15th to unlock access to a special prize!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

eShark
eShark
Calling all divers and snorkelers! You have valuable information to share because you can census areas that fishers can’t. Help track how shark and ray populations have changed.
Location: Global

SharkBase
SharkBase
Even if you’ve never seen a shark in the wild, you can still contribute to SharkBase by submitting sightings that you see in the news or on the internet. Your observations will help track sharks’ global population changes.
Location: Global. Online.

New England Basking Shark and Ocean Sunfish Project
Help monitor basking shark and ocean sunfish in New England waters by sending in your photos from the seas!
Location: New England, USA

Credit_ Kelli Shaw
Sevengill Shark Identification 
Scuba divers are needed to help monitor sevengill sharks as they return each year to San Diego, CA and South Africa. Share your photos which will be analyzed online, using a pattern recognition system.
Location: San Diego, CA; South Africa 

ELMO South African Elasmobranch Monitoring
Collect data on South African sharks, skates, rays and chimaera sightings as well as their eggcases along the South African coastline. Whether you are a snorkeler, diver, swimmer, skipper, angler or a beachwalker, you can assist by reporting your sighting or reports you’ve seen in the news.
Location: Mozambique Republic, South Africa

Discover more summertime citizen on the SciStarter Calendar. Needed: 1,000 skilled photographers to help create the Eclipse MegaMovie on August 21Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Finding the Common Culture: Uniting Science and the Humanities in Citizen Science

By Guest July 18th, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Comment

By Brad Mehlenbacher (North Carolina State University) and Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher (University of Waterloo)

Through citizen science projects, the Bodleian Library is improving access to their music collections, the Smithsonian is transcribing important documents, and researchers at the University of Oxford are transcribing Ancient Greek text from Greco-Roman Egypt. Although these projects represent promising examples of the humanities and social sciences, citizen science projects in these fields still aren’t all that common.

Humanities and social sciences (HSS) include disciplines such as language studies, classics, comparative literature, history, philosophy, anthropology, psychology, economics, education, political science, and so on. These disciplines vary considerably in their intellectual traditions, methods, and disciplinary norms, but there are also common issues, questions, and challenges each discipline shares with the others. In fact, HSS and STEM disciplines also share common issues, questions, and challenges. Read the rest of this entry »

Network of Bees

By Russ Campbell July 14th, 2017 at 11:55 am | Comment

There is a lot to learn from bees. The survival of the hive depends on the combined efforts of the entire colony. In Conetoe (pronounced KUH-nee-tah), North Carolina Reverend Richard Joyner and his family of youth beekeepers are tending to bees and building community, one hive at a time.

Reverend Joyner is the force behind the Conetoe Family Life Center, created to address the fact that in one year, he conducted more than 30 funerals for people under 50 who had died from chronic disease. 30 funerals. For a community of 300. Read the rest of this entry »

How SciStarter helps connect people to citizen science projects, events and tools.

By Darlene Cavalier July 12th, 2017 at 9:43 am | Comment

At SciStarter, we aim to reach people where they are and connect them to opportunities to do and shape science through citizen science projects in need of their help.

If someone wants to promote or recruit participants for their project, event, or tool, they register it on SciStarter. Our editors review each record before publishing it. Once it’s published, it can be shared with our partners (including CitSci.org, the Atlas of Living Australia,  the U.S. Federal inventory of projects, and others listed below) who export or import records with our database. We do this through APIs we’ve developed to make it easier for project owners to add, update, and share their projects across websites. (If you have a database of citizen science projects, events, or tools you’d like to link into this system, please access the API documentation here.)

We also bring citizen science to the public through strategic editorial and marketing partnerships with organizations, aligned with our mission, already reaching millions of people.

Here’s how:

Our syndicated blog network enables us to share news about projects, people, and perspectives on a weekly basis, far beyond the reach of our website, newsletter, events and social media outreach:

 

Citizen Science Salon, a joint project of SciStarter and Discover Magazine  is where science enthusiasts  join forces with top researchers. We feature weekly collaborative, crowdsourced, and DIY research projects that relate to what millions of people are reading about in Discover, so they can take action and take science into their own hands! Community: general science enthusiasts.

CitizenSci blog on Public Library of Science  examines the emerging phenomena of public participation in science from diverse disciplinary perspectives. CitizenSci bloggers, coordinated by SciStarter, bring stories about innovative projects, methodologies, and histories to help chart the changing landscape of public participation in scientific research. Community: researchers, practitioners, scientists, educators.

“Philadelphia Media Network is pleased to partner with SciStarter,” said Eric Ulken, vice president of digital content for Philly.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News. “Our daily mission is to inform the residents of the Philadelphia area with the most useful and relevant news in the region. Leveraging SciStarter’s extensive coverage on science innovations and citizen participation in those innovations will help us further engage our millions of users and large contingent of local science leaders.” Each month, SciStarter’s editorial team posts a new opportunity for millions of Philadelphians to take part in. Audience: PA, NJ, DE residents.

Those are examples of the blogs we publish. (Note: There’s no shortage of projects and outcomes to write about! Contact Jenny@SciStarter.com or Alycia@SciStarter.com if you’re interested in submitting a guest post or joining our editorial team!)

Another way we help share projects, events, and tools with people is through the free and open SciStarter Project Finder. In fact, it’s at the center of this work.

With support from the Simons Foundation, SciStarter is making our  ‘project finder’ feature and database of citizen science projects available for communities, media partners and websites to duplicate on their own pages. SciStarter aggregates more than 1,500 citizen science projects and events and this Simons Foundation grant enabled us to create open, customizable, plug-and-play software tools that anyone can use. In addition, now everyone who adds a project to the SciStarter database will benefit from unlimited distribution outlets, reaching millions of potential participants. Learn about additional benefits for project owners.

The APIs and codes for the widgets can be found here.  Feel free to use them. You can create customized versions of your own project finder which will pull up-to-date records from our database and you can even filter for the types or locations of projects your community cares about. Through these open, easy-to-use APIs and web snippets,  SciStarter shares its database of projects with:

PBS series The Crowd and The Cloud turns “viewers into doers” through the SciStarter Project Finder.

 

PBS Kids SciGirls enables kids to find projects filtered by age-level and location.

 

 

Cornerstones of Science uses the SciStarter API and widgets to help librarians introduce their communities to citizen science.

 

TerraMar Project embeds a customized Project Finder and filters for Ocean projects for its ocean-advocacy community.

 

AstronomyMagazine.com uses our Widget to feature an astronomy project of the week.

 

NSTA uses our widget to serve up grade-specific projects to thousands of STEM educators each week.

All For Good and Serve.gov use our API to import and share citizen science projects with eager volunteers.

Many other sites use the tools and several projects have been instrumental in codesigning the APIs and snippets. This has truly been a team effort. As we continue to build the forthcoming tools (or “instruments”) database, we’d appreciate input from people who use or make tools that citizen scientists can use. Kindly consider adding a tool and testing the **alpha** “add a tool” feature here.   We imagine the Tools database operating in a similar manner as the Projects and Events database including a public interface to search for and access the tools. We aim to make this database open, flexible, accessible, shareable, and customizable.

Please, by all means, feel free to embed the database or project widget on your site (remember that you can filter for the type or location of projects suitable for your community), contribute to the syndicated blog network as a guest/regular author or editor so we can share your news, and/or add your projects, events, or tools to the shared database.

Most of the work we do here, in partnership with Arizona State University and in collaboration with NC State University, advances the field of citizen science research.  You’re welcome to use any of our research outcomes found here: https://scistarter.com/research. If you’re interested in learning about the National Science Foundation-supported SciStarter 2.0 features we’ve developed to help participants find, join and even track their contributions across projects and platforms, we’ve posted a video and slides from a recent presentation here.

Did we mention that all of this is free?

We also offer premium services to recruit, train, equip and retain participants. This has proven valuable for programs in need of targeted recruitment (based on location where there may be gaps in data or to reach underrepresented communities, for example). Sometimes we do this through our sister organization, Science Cheerleaders, Inc., a 501 c3 organization comprised of 300 current and former NFL, NBA and college cheerleaders –who are pursuing STEM careers– who activate citizen science projects at speaking engagements and other live events. (You didn’t see that one coming, did you? 🙂 .) Some of our favorite examples of this collaborative work are: Space Microbes and GLOBE.gov’s El Nino campaign. While we polish up our Premium Services webpage, if you’re interested in learning more, please email info@SciStarter.com.

Cheers!

Darlene and the SciStarter team

Categories: Citizen Science

Why “SciStarter is excellent for citizen science.”

By Darlene Cavalier July 12th, 2017 at 9:00 am | Comment

Well thank you for the kind words, Pietro Michelucci (founder of EyesOnALZ, a crowdsourcing platform designed to accelerate Alzheimer’s research). Pietro is one of 15 project and platform partners we’ve been working with to test and deploy a suite of new citizen science tools.

For the past two years, thanks to support from the National Science Foundation, the SciStarter team has been hard at work building tools, partnerships, and methodologies to help connect millions of citizen scientists to thousands of projects in need of their help and, at the same time, break down barriers currently preventing participants from reaching their full potential.

SciStarter is a National Science Foundation-supported, project agnostic platform supporting recruitment and retention of volunteers into over 1,500 citizen science initiatives from hundreds of organizations. The platform also facilitates studies to improve our understanding of citizen science in partnership with Arizona State University, North Carolina State University, Colorado State University, Cornell and dozens of other collaborators, including the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science.

Last week, Dr. Caren Cooper and I had the pleasure of unveiling “SciStarter 2.0” at an event in Washington, D.C.  Attendees were from the National Science Foundation, USGS, Department of Energy, Institute for Museum and Library Services, EPA, NPR, National Parks Service, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, and other organizations.

We described some trends, opportunities, and challenges in citizen science (particularly related to recruiting, training, equipping and retaining participants) from the eye-of-the-storm perspective of SciStarter.

This event included:

– a brief overview of citizen science;

– a presentation and soft-launch of SciStarter 2.0, a smart collection of web components, including a dashboard and integrated login, designed to extend, enhance, and enrich participant experiences while at the same time supporting STEM research and enabling research on motivations and learning outcomes of participants;

– and a discussion on future directions for SciStarter 3.0, given the opportunities and challenges facing participants, project organizers/researchers, and supporting agencies and foundations.

You can watch a recording of the presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3or9U629wwE ) and view our slides by clicking on the image below or click here:SciStarter2.0_Federal-Agencies-Presentation.pptx-1 The slides provide details about the new tools we’ve deployed through a growing network of projects and platforms, as well as personal perspectives from the project owners using these tools (including quotes that made us blush, like the one from Pietro Michelucci).

We sincerely hope you enjoy the new SciStarter and we’d love to hear your ideas on how we can continue to empower people by providing better access to protocols, instruments, communities and ongoing support.  If you’re interested in working with SciStarter to advance your own research, we’d love to hear from you, too!  Please don’t hesitate to reach us at info@SciStarter.com .

Cheers!