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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

  • TrafficTurk Technology

    TrafficTurk

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

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Dan Work, Assistant Professor DATES: Friday, November 2, 2012 - Saturday, November 3, 2012
  • Citizens in Space Space

    Citizens in Space

    Citizen scientists are invited to submit experiments that may be flown into space on board commercial flights

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Edward Wright, Chairman DATES: Ongoing
  • Evolution Megalab Evolution

    Evolution Megalab

    Start your own banded snail hunt and learn about evolution first hand

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Robert Cameron, professor DATES: Ongoing
  • The YardMap Network More Science

    The YardMap Network

    A citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat for both professional scientists and people concerned with their local environments

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Rhiannon Crain, Yardmap Project Leader DATES: Ongoing
  • "Tag A Tiny" Tuna Fishing Program Technology

    "Tag A Tiny" Tuna Fishing Program

    Help the Large Pelagics Research Center improve scientific understanding of large fish and other species living in the open ocean by supporting and participating in cooperative research projects

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Molly Lutcavage, director, research professor DATES: Ongoing
  • Native Buzz More Science

    Native Buzz

    Learn more about the nesting preferences, diversity and distribution of indigenous solitary bees and wasps, share this information, and provide a forum for others interested in native beekeeping

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jason Graham, Honeybee Extension Lab DATES: Ongoing
  • MyHeartMap Challenge Technology

    MyHeartMap Challenge

    Create map of defibrillators to help save lives in the Philadelphia area

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Raina Merchant DATES: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
  • Monarch Larva Monitoring Project More Science

    Monarch Larva Monitoring Project

    Aid in conserving monarchs and their threatened migratory phenomenon, and advance our understanding of butterfly ecology in general

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Karen Oberhauser DATES: Ongoing
  • World Water Monitoring Day Health

    World Water Monitoring Day

    Test your local water and share the results globally

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: various regional scientists DATES: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - Monday, December 31, 2012
  • Meteor Counter Space

    Meteor Counter

    Mobile app lets citizen scientists keep track of meteoroids

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Bill Cooke DATES: Ongoing
  • Bee Hunt! More Science

    Bee Hunt!

    A scientific study to understand the impact of climate change and other factors on plant-pollinator interactions, geographic distributions and seasonal abundances

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: John Pickering, associate professor DATES: Ongoing
  • Nearby Nature GigaBlitz #2 Technology

    Nearby Nature GigaBlitz #2

    Call for entries for a second Nearby Nature GigaBlitz, to take place December 19 to 25

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Alex Smith, Ken Tamminga and Dennis vanEngelsdorp DATES: Monday, December 19, 2011 - Sunday, December 25, 2011
  • NASA Balloon Flight Experiment Technology

    NASA Balloon Flight Experiment

    University students vie for a chance to install their instruments on the next NASA science balloon

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: T. Gregory Guzik DATES: Ongoing
  • Gravestone Project More Science

    Gravestone Project

    Citizen scientists map the location of graveyards around the globe as well as the impact of air pollution on marble gravestones

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Gary Lewis, EarthTrek Project Director DATES: Ongoing
  • Turtle Roadway Mortality Study More Science

    Turtle Roadway Mortality Study

    Citizen scientists document turtle roadkill observations in Massachusetts through an online mapping interface

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Tim Dexter and Mike Jones DATES: Ongoing
  • Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey More Science

    Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey

    Citizen scientists have an opportunity to contribute to biological research and learn more about the impact of invasive species

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Robert Colautti, Postdoctoral Scholar (North America) DATES: Ongoing
  • School of Ants Evolution

    School of Ants

    What will you find living in your backyard?

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Andrea Lucky, Postdoctoral Researcher DATES: Ongoing
  • Project <i>MonarchHealth</i> More Science

    Project MonarchHealth

    Help scientists better understand host-parasite interactions in monarch butterflies

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Sonia Altizer, Associate Professor DATES: Ongoing
  • SoundCitizen Health

    SoundCitizen

    A community-based water sampling network based in Washington's Puget Sound region

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Rick Keil, Associate Professor DATES: Ongoing
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