Innovation Meets Citizen Science

Citizen science has been around as long as science, but innovative approaches are opening doors to more and deeper forms of public participation.

Below, our editors spotlight a few projects that feature new approaches, novel research, or low-cost instruments. They all provide opportunities to act upon issues you may care about.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Unravel the secrets of microscopic life! Colony B is a mobile gaming app developed at McGill University that enables you to contribute to research on microbes. Collect microbes and grow your colony in a fast-paced puzzle game that advances important scientific research.

Location: Global

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AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, that detect and report changes in your environment. (Android only.)

Location: Global

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Getting computers to understand language requires large amounts of linguistic data and “correct” answers to language tasks (what researchers call “gold standard annotations”). Simply by playing language games online, you can help archive languages and create the linguistic data used by researchers to improve language technologies. These games are in English, French, and a new “multi-lingual” category.

Location: Global

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Help our nation’s trees and protect human health in the process. Invasive diseases and pests threaten the health of America’s forests. With the TreeSnap app, you can record the location and health of particular tree species–those unharmed by diseases that have wiped out other species. Scientists then use the collected information to locate candidates for genetic sequencing and breeding programs. Tag trees you find in your community, on your property, or out in the wild to help scientists understand forest health.

Location: Global

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Global Effort on Citizen Science Day
Global Effort on Citizen Science Day

From March 13-17, the SciStarter team was in Raleigh, North Carolina presenting talks and learning from the diverse perspectives at the Citizen Science Association conference. The team tweeted using #CitSci2019, posted Facebook Live videos of presentations, snapped pictures for Instagram, and much more. Stay tuned for our reflections on the conference in the coming weeks!

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Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even 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!

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About the Author

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson

In addition to being the Managing Editor of SciStarter's Syndicated Blog Network, Caroline Nickerson is a Master of Public Policy student at American University with a focus on environmental and climate change policy. She is passionate about science communication in the policy space and engaging citizens and voters. Caroline currently serves as secretary on the national board of the Commission on Local Debates (localdebates.org), an emerging nonprofit seeking to leverage technology to make debates for local elections better and more accessible. She also works as a textbook and curriculum development consultant for the University of Florida Psychiatry Department. In her role there, she is a project manager for the Christensen Project, which honors and furthers Dr. Richard C. Christensen's legacy of advocating for homeless and under-served individuals.