Citizen Science (CS) is a term used to describe a multitude of practices designed to increase public understanding and participation in cutting edge research. This serves the needs for both the academic community and the volunteers who get involved.
- It can vastly increase the capacity of the academic community to undertake research projects as well as providing key drivers for new projects from the interests and needs of the participants
- The volunteers can influence the direction of scientific study as well as developing a better understanding and trust in how the research is done
CS is a relatively new term but an old practice. Prior to the 20th century, science was often the pursuit of independent scientists. Amateur or self-funded researchers such as Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, and Florence Nightingale, were responsible for many breakthroughs in our understanding of the world.
Despite the name, Citizen Science is a method of undertaking research that can be used by all disciplines. Past international CS projects have included:
- Data analysis for major, international, astronomy projects
- Transcription of artifact tags and field notebooks from archaeology digs
- Data collection for international biodiversity projects
The University of Warwick has undertaken a number of Citizen Science projects and offers a range of opportunities to get involved in CS.
Institute for Global Sustainable Development (IGSD)
The IGSD is a community of researchers from across the university, committed to delivering world-leading research around global sustainable development. It provides a focal point for Warwick’s sustainable development research, contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) but still challenging of them.
As part of their work around the SDGs the IGSD has developed a range of citizen science projects and expertise in this area. Their work focuses on ensuring that the voices of marginalised communities are heard in research and empowered by citizen-generated data to improve their resilience to health and environmental risks.
WMS Patient and Public Community Hub
Researchers in the Warwick Medical School’s Patient and Public Community Hub have created an online space where our communities can find out about opportunities to get involved with health research; to be a place where people can find out about the results of local health research and begin to build a partnership with health researchers. Through the Hub members of the public can see currently active projects that are looking for participants as well as accessing upcoming events and useful information.
Eutopia TRAIN Community of Practice
As part of the Warwick in Europe project we are part of the EUTOPIA collaboration of universities. Citizen Science forms a key part of the Eutopia TRAIN (Transforming Research & Innovation) strand of activity and in 2021 the project began work to create a CS Community of Practice across the Eutopia partners.
This community will be a space for interdisciplinary networking and peer-learning sessions with both local and international colleagues and partners. Also, this community will help the EUTOPIA TRAIN project to gather its conclusions and practices in a re-usable online training module/toolkit.
If you would like to know more about this new community, please complete our survey to learn more.
Further resources on Citizen Science practice
Citizen Science Association
Citizen Science is the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations. The Citizen Science Association unites expertise from educators, scientists, data managers, and others to power citizen science.
EU Citizen Science
EU-Citizen.Science is an online platform for sharing knowledge, tools, training, and resources for citizen science – by the community, for the community. The vision for the platform is to serve as a Knowledge Hub, in aid of the mainstreaming of citizen science, and build on the growing impact of citizens participating in research across the full range of scientific enquiry. We accomplish this by supporting the sharing of knowledge, know-how, and experience between anyone doing or wanting to do citizen science.
The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Own and operated by the Citizen Science Alliance, our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications.