Editor’s Choice: This is an excellent example of real “co-created” science between a non-salaried scientist (aka citizen scientist) and salaried scientists. –LFF–
Amateur naturalists from the UK have a distinguished pedigree, from Henry Walter Bates and Marianne North, to Alfred Russel Wallace and Mary Anning. But arguably, the rise of post-war academia in the fifties displaced them from mainstream scientific discourse and discovery. Recently, there has been a resurgence of the ‘citizen scientist’, like me, in the UK and elsewhere – although the term may refer to more than one kind of beast.
To me, the ‘citizen scientist’ label feels a little patronising – conveying an image of people co-opted en masse for top-down, scientist-led, large-scale biological surveys. That said, scientist-led surveys can offer valid contributions to conservation and documentation of the effects of climate change (among other objectives). They also engage the public (not least children) in science, although volunteers usually have an interest in natural history and science already. For me though, the real excitement comes in following a bottom-up path: making my own discoveries and approaching scientists for assistance with my projects.
Source: Grieves, Chris, 2017. Bottom-up Citizen Science and Biodiversity Statistics. 6 June. Available at methods.blog, https://methodsblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/06/citizen-science-biodiversity-statistics/