ADVERTISEMENT

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

Projects

  • Creek Watch More Science

    Creek Watch

    Monitor the health of your local watershed

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: N/A DATES: Ongoing
  • World Water Monitoring Challenge More Science

    World Water Monitoring Challenge

    Citizen scientists can join the World Water Monitoring Challenge to test the quality of their waterways, share their findings and protect our most precious resource

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: N/A DATES: Ongoing
  • The School of Ants More Science

    The School of Ants

    The School of Ants project studies ants that live in urban areas, particularly around homes and schools

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Andrea Lucky DATES: Ongoing
  • The Great Eggcase Hunt Project More Science

    The Great Eggcase Hunt Project

    The Great Eggcase Hunt aims to get as many people as possible hunting for egg cases that have either been washed ashore or found by divers and snorkelers underwater

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Ali Hood, Director of Conservation DATES: Ongoing
  • National Cockroach Project Evolution

    National Cockroach Project

    High school students and other citizen scientists collecting and helping analyze American cockroaches using DNA barcoding

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Mark Stoeckle, Senior Research Associate DATES: Ongoing
  • Shark Savers SharksCount More Science

    Shark Savers SharksCount

    Recreational divers can help marine researchers log, count and identify the sharks they see during their dives

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Samantha Whitcraft, Director of Programs DATES: Ongoing
  • BioTrails More Science

    BioTrails

    Monitor animal and plant species in Maine’s Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park area

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Karen James, Program Director DATES: Ongoing
  • Secchi Marine Phytoplankton App More Science

    Secchi Marine Phytoplankton App

    Help researchers better understand the phytoplankton that underpin the entire marine food chain

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Richard Kirby, plankton biologist DATES: Ongoing
  • Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) More Science

    Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST)

    Want to play an active role in marine conservation?

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Julia Parrish, Executive Director DATES: Ongoing
  • Marine Debris Tracker More Science

    Marine Debris Tracker

    Help scientists map trash on coastlines and waterways

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jenna Jambeck, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering DATES: Ongoing
  • BioCurious DIY BioPrinter Technology

    BioCurious DIY BioPrinter

    Join BioPrinter community project

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Eri Gentry, Executive Director DATES: Ongoing
  • Roadkill Survey for Road Bikers More Science

    Roadkill Survey for Road Bikers

    Help ecologists better understand the impact of roadways on wildlife by submitting information about road kill

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Gregg Treinish, Founder/Executive Director DATES: Ongoing
  • Space Hacker Workshop Technology

    Space Hacker Workshop

    Learn how to do "space on the cheap" at this two-day event May 4-5, 2013

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Edward Wright, Chairman DATES: Saturday, May 4, 2013 - Sunday, May 5, 2013
  • Project MERCCURI More Science

    Project MERCCURI

    Collect microbial samples on Earth and compare them with microbes found on the International Space Station (ISS)

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jonathan Eisen, Professor DATES: Thursday, April 11, 2013 - Sunday, September 1, 2013
  • Cicada Tracker More Science

    Cicada Tracker

    Help biologists study the next emergence of these locustlike insects in the eastern U.S.

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: John Cooley, Research Scientist DATES: Monday, April 15, 2013 - Saturday, August 31, 2013
  • Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) Health

    Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB)

    Form a citizen-science bucket brigade to study the environmental health of your community

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Anne Rolfes DATES: Ongoing
  • Play with Your Dog More Science

    Play with Your Dog

    Help researchers investigate canine behavior by sending video of time spent playing with your furry friends [DEADLINE: MARCH 31, 2013]

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Alexandra Horowitz and Julie Hecht DATES: Ongoing
  • American Gut Health

    American Gut

    An open-source, community-driven effort to characterize the microbial diversity of the American public

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jeff Leach DATES: Ongoing
  • TrafficTurk Technology

    TrafficTurk

    Researchers study post-Sandy traffic patterns in New York City via a downloadable app

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Dan Work, Assistant Professor DATES: Friday, November 2, 2012 - Saturday, November 3, 2012
Scientific American Special Universe

Get the latest Special Collector's edition

Secrets of the Universe: Past, Present, Future

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X