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Citizen science: know what it is and why it matters

Citizen science: know what it is and why it matters

Citizen science It is the practice of involving non-scientists in meaningful and practical scientific research projects. The best known examples of citizen science include birds and time tracking – but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Citizen science has been popular for more than a century, but in recent years the Internet has revolutionized the ability of scientists to reach out to citizen scientists and engage them in a variety of research projects.

The contribution of citizen scientists is critical in some forms of research; Without your participation, many projects would be impractical or even impossible.

It is important to note that citizen science is different from amateur research. For example, dinosaur lovers can spend a lot of time and effort searching for, identifying and collecting fossils.

But if their work is not related to a larger research study conducted by a professional scientific organization, it is not considered citizen science.

History of citizen science

You can’t have citizen science without professional scientists, which means there were no citizen scientists during Renaissance where Age of Enlightenment.

Instead, there were amateur and “masters” scientists such as Thomas Jefferson, who studied various aspects of the natural world. The concept of a “professional” scientist didn’t emerge until 1800—and citizen science had an opportunity.

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Citizen science before the internet

While some types of research can be done by a single scientist in a lab, many others rely on collecting large amounts of data.

Certain types of data collection are particularly suitable for citizen scientists, particularly when they require relatively simple tools available to non-specialists.

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In some cases, civic science groups were able to organize volunteers. Citizen scientists have been employed in specific fields, including:

  • Monitoring of waterways and waterways
  • Insect and bird notes
  • Climate control
  • astronomical observation
  • Plant and wildlife notes

In some cases, citizen scientists have made it possible to collect many data points, making meaningful analysis possible. In other cases, observing several people in multiple locations made it possible to observe natural trends.

In the case of astronomical observation, not one person can observe the entire sky every night – but hundreds of people can. As a result, citizen scientists have already discovered comets and other astronomical objects that have gone unnoticed by professionals.

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