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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

  • RinkWatch More Science

    RinkWatch

    Climate science and sports collide as researchers track outdoor skating days for signs of environmental change

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Colin Robertson, Assistant Professor DATES: Ongoing
  • Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey More Science

    Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey

    Hunters can help the N.Y. State Department of Conservation keep tabs on important game birds

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Joe Martens, Commissioner DATES: Ongoing
  • Geo-Wiki Project Technology

    Geo-Wiki Project

    Help researchers improve the quality of global land-cover maps

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Steffen Fritz, Research Scholar DATES: Ongoing
  • SKYWARN More Science

    SKYWARN

    Volunteer locally to help the National Weather Service (NWS) provide storm warnings

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Run by local Warning Coordination Meteorologists DATES: Ongoing
  • Canadian Lakes Loon Survey (CLLS) More Science

    Canadian Lakes Loon Survey (CLLS)

    Monitor and help prevent threats to loons on lakes across Canada

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Art Martell, Chair DATES: Ongoing
  • iSpot More Science

    iSpot

    Learn more about wildlife, share your interest with a friendly community and get help identifying what you have seen

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jonathan Silvertown DATES: Ongoing
  • Students' Cloud Observations Online (S'COOL) More Science

    Students' Cloud Observations Online (S'COOL)

    Help NASA scientists better understand the impact that clouds have on Earth's atmosphere

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Lin Chambers, the lead for the S'COOL program DATES: Ongoing
  • ZomBee Watch More Science

    ZomBee Watch

    Help scientists track and study parasitized honeybees that have been turned into zombies

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: John Hafernik DATES: Ongoing
  • National Moth Week July 2012 More Science

    National Moth Week July 2012

    Explore and record America's more than 10,000 moth species

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: David Moskowitz and Liti Haramaty DATES: Monday, July 23, 2012 - Sunday, July 29, 2012
  • Panamath Mind & Brain

    Panamath

    Test your inborn ability to intuitively size up the number of objects in your everyday environment

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Justin Halberda DATES: Ongoing
  • Turing's Sunflowers More Science

    Turing's Sunflowers

    Grow sunflowers and put the mathematical theories of Alan Turing and other researchers to the test

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jonathan Swinton and Erinma Ochu DATES: Ongoing
  • Killer Whale Tracker More Science

    Killer Whale Tracker

    Monitor endangered Pacific Northwest killer whales by detecting orca sounds and measuring noise levels using hydrophones

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Val Veirs DATES: Ongoing
  • Lowell Amateur Research Initiative (LARI) Space

    Lowell Amateur Research Initiative (LARI)

    Amateur astronomers can work on research projects with Lowell Observatory researchers

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Bruce Koehn DATES: Ongoing
  • Transit of Venus Space

    Transit of Venus

    The Venus transit offers a chance for modern-day stargazers to repeat the experiments conducted by expeditions around the world in the 18th and 19th centuries--with a modern twist

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Steven van Roode DATES: Ongoing
  • WildObs Technology

    WildObs

    Record and share your photos and observations about wildlife

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Adam Jack DATES: Ongoing
  • Wildlife Health Event Reporter More Science

    Wildlife Health Event Reporter

    Citizen scientists engaging in their regular work or recreational activities have tremendous potential to observe and record events that may identify important changes in the environment

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Joshua Dein DATES: Ongoing
  • Update: Nature's Notebook More Science

    Update: Nature's Notebook

    Phenological citizen science project anticipates recording its millionth observation

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jake Weltzin, Executive Director DATES: Ongoing
  • Solar-Storm Watch Space

    Solar-Storm Watch

    Help solar scientists spot explosions on the sun and track them across space to Earth

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Chris Davis, Project Scientist DATES: Ongoing
  • Camel Cricket Census More Science

    Camel Cricket Census

    The Your Wild Life team needs citizen scientists to share observations and photos of camel crickets

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Katlin Mooneyham DATES: Ongoing
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