In 2011, the New York Public Library (NYPL) released 9,000 digitized restaurant menus with “delicious data” that had been “frozen as pixels,” making the menus difficult to search, index, and discover online. Along with the menus, the NYPL launched an interface that asked the public to help transcribe the thousands of menus and the hundreds…

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Abstract: The prospect of newly-emerging, technology-enabled, unregulated citizen science health research poses a substantial challenge for traditional research ethics. Unquestionably, a significant amount of research ethics study is needed to prepare for the inevitable, widespread introduction of citizen science health research. Using the case study of mobile health research, this article provides an ethical, legal,…

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I was on a call with Teresa Murphy-Skorzova, Community Growth Manager for OpenSignal, an app that uses crowd-sourcing to aggregate cell phone signals and WiFi strength data throughout the world. Teresa began to explain how OpenSignal maps signal strength and how this process contrasts the way cell phone networks map it. “We aren’t following a…

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In honor of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference; the critical role that citizen science can play in understanding and mitigating the effects of climate change. – LFF    Climate change is a very real problem facing our planet. The term “climate change” can cover a great many things, some natural and some man…

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New research led by ecologists at the University of York shows that certain species of moths and butterflies are becoming more common, and others rarer, as species differ in how they respond to climate change. Collaborating with the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the charity Butterfly Conservation, the University of Reading…

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Recent infrared observations of a star that once showed a pattern of weird dimming have turned up no anomalous readings, astronomers say – and that supports the view that a comet blitz rather than the construction of an alien megastructure was behind the earlier observations. The latest evidence, laid out in a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal…

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We’re all used to citizen science projects that aim at education, or at producing scientific value, but the combination – especially involving groups of young children – remains incredibly difficult to pull off. The ‘Blackawton Bees’ study is a touchstone for much of my thinking, but hasn’t been replicated in the UK and required a…

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Forgotten trees from long lost orchards and 20th-century city landscaping are being rediscovered in urban areas, and their fruits are proving not only largely free of urban pollutants, but more nutritious than their retail counterparts. Scientists at Wellesley College have joined forces with the League of Urban Canners (LUrC), based in Cambridge/Somerville and greater Boston…

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A new project called EyesOnHives has beekeepers buzzing. Developed by Santa Barbara–based Keltronix, Inc., the technology uses video to monitor hive activity in order to keep track of its health. A rapid decline in the insects’ population in recent years has concerned and at times baffled scientists and bee enthusiasts. EyesOnHives trains a camera-like device on…

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