Excerpt: A dozen MIT students and community members clamber into a van on a bright morning in late January. There’s palpable excitement as the van drives down Main Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and crosses onto Portland Street. The chilly weather and light snow does nothing to dampen the group’s spirits. They’re on a hunt —…

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Abstract: Global changes to fish distributions are expected to continue in coming decades with predicted increases in ocean temperatures and the frequency of extreme climatic events. In the eastern Indian Ocean during the 2010/11 summer, sea surface temperatures 4–5 °C above average and an unseasonal, anomalously strong, Leeuwin Current (LC) triggered a “marine heatwave” along…

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Abstract: Crowd-sourced environmental observations are increasingly being considered as having the potential to enhance the spatial and temporal resolution of current data streams from terrestrial and areal sensors. The rapid diffusion of ICTs during the past decades has facilitated the process of data collection and sharing by the general public and has resulted in the…

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Excerpt: I’ve encountered citizen-scientist bankers who turned from climate change skeptics into sustainability advocates, neighbors who sent an industry manager to jail for polluting their air, a community that accepted the weighty responsibility of managing federally designated threatened sea turtles, and online gamers who became ambassadors for science. These amateurs absorb the scientific method, and…

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Excerpt: “Citizen science” is a term used to describe when members of the public collect—and even analyze— scientific data, often in collaboration with professional scientists. For example, a member of the public might collect samples of water from a stream close to his or her house, or take samples of soil from a nearby park….

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Matching the right tool with a compelling narrative. For David Lang, this was the ah-ha moment at OpenROV’s inception. “Tool plus narrative” provides an interesting lens to examine citizen science and, perhaps, a useful recipe for the development of new citizen science projects. A narrative is a way of embedding a research question within the…

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Abstract: Citizen science is a form of collaboration that engages non-professionals as contributors to scientific research, typically through the processes of gathering, transforming or analyzing data. To date, research has documented examples of hugely successful citizen science projects, such as Zooniverse and eBird, but citizen science also includes hundreds of smaller citizen science and functionally…

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Excerpt: A year ago, University of Alabama professor Sarah Parcak won a $1 million TED Prize for her work in “space archaeology” — using satellite imagery beamed down from space to search for archaeological sites lost through time. Today, Parcak launches GlobalXplorer, a citizen science platform that encourages people around the world to identify and…

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Excerpt: The tsunami had receded just days before. The cores of three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s central east coast were molten wrecks. The deadly radiation once bottled inside their concrete containment domes — well, nobody knew exactly where it went. So a group of citizens decided to find out….

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This article is a must-read for anyone thinking about “going mobile” with citizen science projects. The meticulous work shows that while the use of a smart-phone app may draw more engagement, it can lead to “casual quality data”. Another example of the usual tradeoff in citizen science – data quality against engagement.  -LFF Abstract: Technology-supported…

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