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Citizen Science Movement

Goals

To develop a thorough understanding of citizen science, including opportunities, threats, growth potential, key organzations and media coverage, to inform social impact initiatives for a biopharma company.

Early Findings

Overview

  • Citizen science involves leveraging public input in the scientific process, addressing real-world problems.
  • Published and supported by the US General Services Administration, Citizenscience.gov offers up to date information about citizen science and showcases projects in-progress.
  • An example of a project is Bacterial Water Quality Monitoring in South Carolina, which is currently recruiting volunteers for roles such as data entry and sample collection and analysis.

Benefits/Opportunities

  • Citizen science efforts have been highly beneficial, offering measurable results in sustainability efforts by filling data gaps, leveraging resources efficiently, building meaningful relationships with communities, and creating involvement and interest across generations.
  • Some see citizen science as a means to achieve Sustainable Development goals by 2030.

Limitations

  • Some limitations of citizen science include funding, lack of community engagement for some projects, possible data biases, and the fact that some projects simply cannot be researched through citizen science.

Key Organizations

  • The Earthwatch Institute is an organization who is promoting Citizen Science by supporting field research efforts through funding and engaging members of the public as participants.
  • SciStarter provides a database of over 3,000 vetted Citizen Science projects.

Media Coverage

  • Citizen science has received some mainstream media coverage, with this article from the Guardian in the UK mostly promoting strengths, but also discussing possible limitations and controversies.
  • Scientific American supports citizen science with a portion of its website dedicated to information and projects.

Engagement Programs

  • One method of engagement is through apps which make the process of contributing fun and interesting, such as QuestaGame, in which users submit photos of wildlife and note where and when the photo was taken. The photos are used by researchers for population tracking and biodiversity efforts.

Growth of Citizen Science

  • Citizen Science has grown signficantly in the past few years, in terms of number of projects, breadth of projects, and involvement of the public.
  • Millions of people participate in citizen science globally.
We uncovered varied and deep information in our early research, and therefore recommend continuing to develop insights around Citizen Science.

Proposed next steps:

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