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.


  • World Water Monitoring Challenge The Sciences

    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

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  • American Gut Health

    American Gut

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

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  • "Tag A Tiny" Tuna Fishing Program Tech

    "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
  • Update: The Quake-Catcher Network Tech

    Update: The Quake-Catcher Network

    Southern California residents called on to install mini-sensors that record earthquake data beneficial to science, emergency response and seismic safety

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Elizabeth Cochran DATES: Ongoing
  • Monarch Larva Monitoring Project The Sciences

    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
  • Project FeederWatch The Sciences

    Project FeederWatch

    A monitoring program for more than 100 bird species that winter in North America

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: David Bonter DATES: Ongoing
  • The Sciences

    Help University of Arizona researchers track rainfall throughout the state

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Gary Woodward, Associate Director, Hydrology and Water Resources DATES: Ongoing
  • The Quake-Catcher Network Sustainability

    The Quake-Catcher Network

    Help develop the world's largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network

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    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Elizabeth Cochran DATES: Ongoing

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