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

  • EteRNA Biology

    EteRNA

    Game lets citizen scientists participate in creating large-scale library of synthetic RNA designs

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Rhiju Das, Assistant Professor/Adrien Treuille, Assistant Professor DATES: Ongoing
  • Forgotten Island Science Education

    Forgotten Island

    Contribute to scientific knowledge while playing this adventure game

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Kevin Crowston and Jun Wang DATES: Ongoing
  • Zooniverse: Project Star Date M83 More Science

    Zooniverse: Project Star Date M83

    Study Hubble telescope images to help identify the ages of the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy’s (M83) many star clusters.

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Various DATES: Ongoing
  • Weddell Seal Population Count More Science

    Weddell Seal Population Count

    Help scientists in the field monitor the Weddell seal population in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Jay Rotella, Robert Garrott and Don Siniff DATES: Ongoing
  • AgeGuess Mind & Brain

    AgeGuess

    A citizen science project that lets you guess people's ages--without fear of offending them!

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Uli Steiner and Dusan Misevic DATES: Ongoing
  • NanoDoc Health

    NanoDoc

    An online game that allows bioengineers and the general public to design new nanoparticle strategies towards the treatment of cancer

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Sangeeta Bhatia, Professor DATES: Ongoing
  • Zooniverse: Plankton Portal More Science

    Zooniverse: Plankton Portal

    No plankton = No life in the ocean

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Robert Cowen DATES: Ongoing
  • The VerbCorner Project Mind & Brain

    The VerbCorner Project

    Help researchers better understand the role of verbs in communication

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Joshua Hartshorne, Post-Doctoral Fellow DATES: Ongoing
  • Space Warps [Zooniverse] Space

    Space Warps [Zooniverse]

    Help spot rare gravitational lenses in the distant universe

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Arfon Smith, Director of Citizen Science DATES: Ongoing
  • Zooniverse: Notes from Nature More Science

    Zooniverse: Notes from Nature

    Help make information about natural history collections available via the Internet

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Arfon Smith, Director of Citizen Science DATES: Ongoing
  • Zooniverse: Snapshot Serengeti More Science

    Zooniverse: Snapshot Serengeti

    Help researchers identify animals photographed in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park—from the safety and comfort of your computer

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Craig Packer, Professor DATES: Ongoing
  • <i>National Geographic</i> Genographic 2.0 More Science

    National Geographic Genographic 2.0

    Citizen scientists can learn more about their genetic makeup and history, helping National Geographic researchers in the process

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Spencer Wells, Explorer-in-Residence DATES: Ongoing
  • Update: EyeWire Technology

    Update: EyeWire

    M.I.T.’s EyeWire project for mapping retinal neurons is out of beta testing and looking to broaden its use among citizen scientists

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Sebastian Seung, professor of computational neuroscience DATES: Ongoing
  • uBiome Technology

    uBiome

    Help researchers map the human microbiome, the microorganisms that inhabit every inch of our skin as well as our ears, mouth, sinuses, genitals and gut

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Zach Apte, Will Ludington, Jessica Richman DATES: Ongoing
  • Bat Detective More Science

    Bat Detective

    Help researchers identify and classify bat calls

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Kate Jones, Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity DATES: Ongoing
  • Citizen Sort Technology

    Citizen Sort

    A Web site with tools and games to classify various species of insects, animals and plants

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Kevin Crowston, Professor of Information Science DATES: Ongoing
  • Zooniverse Seafloor Explorer Technology

    Zooniverse Seafloor Explorer

    Identify species and ground cover in images of the seafloor, and help create a library of seafloor life in the habitats along the northeast continental shelf

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Scott Gallager, Biologist DATES: Ongoing
  • Zooniverse CycloneCenter Technology

    Zooniverse CycloneCenter

    Help scientists analyze the intensities of past tropical cyclones around the globe

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Chris Hennon DATES: Ongoing
  • Update: The Quake-Catcher Network Technology

    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

    More »
    PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Elizabeth Cochran DATES: Ongoing
Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>

X

Email this Article

X