Why “SciStarter is excellent for citizen science.”

By Darlene Cavalier | June 24, 2017 11:31 am

Well thank you for the kind words, Pietro Michelucci (founder of EyesOnALZ, a crowdsourcing platform designed to accelerate Alzheimer’s research). Pietro is one of 15 project and platform partners we’ve been working with to test and deploy a suite of new citizen science tools.

For the past two years, thanks to support from the National Science Foundation, the SciStarter team has been hard at work building tools, partnerships, and methodologies to help connect millions of citizen scientists to thousands of projects in need of their help and, at the same time, break down barriers currently preventing participants from reaching their full potential.

SciStarter is a National Science Foundation-supported, project agnostic platform supporting recruitment and retention of volunteers into over 1,500 citizen science initiatives from hundreds of organizations. The platform also facilitates studies to improve our understanding of citizen science in partnership with Arizona State University, North Carolina State University, Colorado State University, Cornell and dozens of other collaborators, including the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science.

Last week, Dr. Caren Cooper and I had the pleasure of unveiling “SciStarter 2.0” at an event in Washington, D.C.  Attendees were from the National Science Foundation, USGS, Department of Energy, Institute for Museum and Library Services, EPA, NPR, National Parks Service, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes, and other organizations.

We described some trends, opportunities, and challenges in citizen science (particularly related to recruiting, training, equipping and retaining participants) from the eye-of-the-storm perspective of SciStarter.

This event included:

– a brief overview of citizen science;

– a presentation and soft-launch of SciStarter 2.0, a smart collection of web components, including a dashboard and integrated login, designed to extend, enhance, and enrich participant experiences while at the same time supporting STEM research and enabling research on motivations and learning outcomes of participants;

– and a discussion on future directions for SciStarter 3.0, given the opportunities and challenges facing participants, project organizers/researchers, and supporting agencies and foundations.

You can watch a recording of the presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3or9U629wwE ) and view our slides by clicking on the image below. The slides provide details about the new tools we’ve deployed through a growing network of projects and platforms, as well as personal perspectives from the project owners using these tools (including quotes that made us blush, like the one from Pietro Michelucci).

We sincerely hope you enjoy the new SciStarter and we’d love to hear your ideas on how we can continue to empower people by providing better access to protocols, instruments, communities and ongoing support.  If you’re interested in working with SciStarter to advance your own research, we’d love to hear from you, too!  Please don’t hesitate to reach us at info@SciStarter.com .

Cheers!
Cooper Cavalier SciStarter 2.0

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

Capturing the Total Solar Eclipse, One Photo at a Time

By Guest | June 21, 2017 9:00 am

By: Alexei V. Filippenko and Hugh Hudson

Diagram of a solar eclipse. Credit: Google

Diagram of a solar eclipse. Credit: Google

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will trace a shadow over a narrow band of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina.  And if you own a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera*, you can become a part of scientific history by joining hundreds of other photographers to make the first crowdsourced image archive of a total solar eclipse from coast to coast.

The “Eclipse Megamovie” project aims to capture many types of solar phenomena with images taken along the path of totality of the August 21 eclipse by over 1,000 trained volunteers, as well as photos from many more members of the general public through the use of smartphones and simple cameras. This first-of-its-kind citizen science project is a partnership between Google, UC Berkeley, and many others. Our primary goal is to collect as much imagery as possible and to hold it in a vast public-domain archive for future study.  Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Space & Physics

Science Heroes at Work

By Guest | June 20, 2017 12:21 pm

By Amy Sterling

Four years ago a citizen science game called Eyewire hatched from Seung Lab, then at MIT and now at Princeton. Its goal was to pair up gamers with a challenge that has been bottlenecking neuroscience for decades: mapping the brain. Over the years the project grew. Hundreds of thousands of people helped, enabling new discoveries and stunning visualizations of neuronsRead More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Mind & Brain

Describe Your Desk Doohickey for Fidget Widget!

By Guest | June 16, 2017 11:50 am

By: Nina Friedman

When I hit a mental roadblock while I’m working, moving always helps. I can’t keep my brain moving unless my body is moving. I might get up from my desk and take a little walk but if I’m in a time crunch I’ll just fidget around in my chair or tap out a fun rhythm. As a growing body of research shows, cognitive functioning increases when we move. In other words, moving helps us think.

While Dr. Michael Karlesky was studying for his PhD at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, he teamed up with his advisor Dr. Katherine Isbister at UC Santa Cruz’s Baskin School of Engineering to pioneer research about fidgeting. They are asking groundbreaking questions about the movements we make while we are sedentary.
Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Mind & Brain

Celebrate Pollinator Week with buzzing science just for you

By Catherine Hoffman | June 13, 2017 9:20 am
Pollinator Week is on its way!
Celebrate the bees, bugs, bats, birds, and more that help pollinate our plants. National Pollinator Week is June 19-25. Explore the buzzing science below to find a way to contribute to pollinator science this month.  Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Participate in Citizen Science to Celebrate World Oceans Day

By Guest | June 8, 2017 4:28 pm

This article was originally posted on August 21, 2013 but we thought this project provided a great way to celebrate World Oceans Day even if you can’t make it to the beach!

Screen-shot-2013-08-19-at-12.17.34-PM-250x180Calling all citizen scientists! It doesn’t matter where you are. You can still be an ‘honorary’ diver to help with this project. The idea is simply to look at seafloor photos on your computer and catalogue what you find.

Explore the Sea Floor is part of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) using their state-of-the-art Automated Underwater Vehicle (AUV), which has several incorporated cameras. “The goal is to produce seafloor images of Australia’s coastal shelf so that we can quantify biodiversity at a continental scale and determine the effects of climate change,” says Dr. Ezequiel Marzinelli, from the Centre of Marine Bio-innovation at University of New South Wales and one of the several scientists involved in the project. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment
MORE ABOUT: World Oceans Day

Read, Participate, Discover, Repeat

By Guest | June 3, 2017 2:45 pm

Today is National Repeat Day and what better way to celebrate than to publish an older post?A recent article in Astrophysical Journal Letters has shown that citizen scientists have just discovered the first brown dwarf through the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project just four weeks after the project launched back in February.  Now, isn’t that worth repeating?

Post by Marc J. Kuchner, originally published on February 15, 2017

Eighty-seven years ago, this week, Clyde Tombaugh was poring over a pair of photographic plates, hoping to change the world.  He was staring hard into an arcane device called a blink comparator, which allowed him to rapidly switch from viewing one image to the next. In those days before computers, that was the best tool he had for finding the faint, moving dot he was seeking, a new planet in our solar system. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Space & Physics

The Science of Hidden Connections

By Guest | May 31, 2017 5:37 pm

By Kaitlin Vortherms

New and exponentially increasing amounts of biomedical research can yield valuable insight into rare diseases, cures, devices, procedures, and more. This growth, however, can sometimes overwhelm scientists and the public alike: the amount of scientific research published in 2014 was more than triple the amount published in 1990, and this trend continues today. While this research has the potential to lead to valuable, lifesaving insights, it is not only hard for scientists to keep up and difficult for the average citizen to understand, but it is almost impossible to implement. There’s just too much…. or is there? Read More

From snorkeling to selfies, here’s how you can advance scientific research

By Catherine Hoffman | May 31, 2017 5:17 pm
You’re in good company
unnamed (2)We just returned from the 2017 Citizen Science Association conference in St. Paul, MN and we can confirm that citizen science is hot!  Give yourself a pat on the back for being part of this awesome movement!
Below, we share some new and alumni projects we think you’ll love. Find more projects and events on SciStarter, to do now or bookmark for later.
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

NASA
Globe at Night
Seven out of 10 people in the US have never seen the Milky Way Galaxy in the night sky due to light pollution. You can help understand light pollution in your community by measuring the night sky brightness.
Location: Global 

Stream Selfie
Map streams across the country and start testing the waters with Stream Selfie. All you need to do is find a stream, snap a photo, and answer some brief questions. You’ll help fill important gaps in our understanding of water quality.
Location: United States

Rescue a Reef
You can help with coral reef restoration with the University of Miami research team. You will be trained in data collection, coral nursery management, and coral restoration. You will need either SCUBA Certification or strong snorkeling skills.
Location: Miami, Florida

Avi
FloodCrowd
Across the United Kingdom, if you’ve seen a flood, big or small, you can contribute your observation to FloodCrowd. Your observations will help assess flood risk management with citizen science.
Location: United Kingdom

North Carolina King Tides
Be on the lookout for high water in North Carolina due to heavy rains, storms, wind, and king tides. Your photos help communities understand their vulnerabilities to coastal flooding during times of extreme high tides or sea-level rise.
Location: North Carolina

Congratulations to the Project Slam finalists! 

We heard over 20 fast-paced talks about new citizen science projects during the Project Slam sponsored by SciStarter at the Citizen Science Association conference. Congratulations to Sparrow Swap, Mark2Cure, and the City Nature Challenge for being the top-voted projects!


 

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!
CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Book Review: Citizen Science, How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery

By Guest | May 23, 2017 3:24 pm

bookBy Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher

Caren Cooper. (2016). Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery. Overlook Press: New York, NY. $28.95.

While publications proliferate on the subject of citizen science, an introduction to inform and delight all readers has been conspicuously absent until Caren Cooper’s new book, Citizen Science: How Ordinary People Are Changing the Face of Discovery hit the shelves this spring. In the pages of Citizen Science we find compelling stories of citizen scientists who shape the field as we now know it. Cooper tells these stories not only as entertainment, although her prose and humour certainly keeps readers entertained, but, importantly, to inspire readers to take up citizen science themselves. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science
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