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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Excerpt: EVE Online players will help scientists look for other planets from the comfort of their computer desks later this year. The game’s developer, CCP Games, is teaming up with Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS), the University of Reykjavik and the University of Geneva to crowdsource space exploration within EVE’s virtual universe. Players will hunt…

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Purpose: The establishment of databases for research in human microbiomics is dependent on the recruitment of sufficient numbers and diversity of participants. Factors that support or impede participant recruitment in studies of this type have not yet been studied. Methods: We report the results of a survey aimed at establishing the motivations of participants in…

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Abstract: New citizen science projects are emerging all the time as scientists, policy-makers, and non-governmental organisations see the value of conducting research in this way. Understanding what factors infuence people to take part in citizen science projects and why participants continue their involvement are important questions for the field. Here, we bring together key theories…

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Excerpt: Thin, blade-like walls, some as tall as a 16-story building, dominate a previously undocumented network of intersecting ridges on Mars, found in images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The simplest explanation for these impressive ridges is that lava flowed into pre-existing fractures in the ground and later resisted erosion better than material around them….

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This is a fascinating article that tracks the change in attitudes towards science as well as content learning that occurred with a group of high school students who participated in the full cycle of a research project from asking the question to presenting results. I particularly liked one of the findings the authors recommend to incorporate in…

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