Working with Citizen Scientists

Hogg, David W.; Hunter, Jane; Bonney, Rick; Marx, Sabine M.

Citizen scientists, members of the public who voluntarily contribute to scientific research projects, have informed research on protein-folding, discovered new celestial bodies, and tracked wildlife after last year's Gulf oil spill. In this discussion, the panelists share their experiences with citizen science initiatives and consider what factors contribute to a successful collaboration with interested amateurs. How have scientists created the necessary tools and infrastructure to gather data or verify analyses carried out by large numbers of citizen scientists? How do research funders and the scientific community view these projects? What does the future hold for citizen science? Panelists: David W. Hogg is an astronomer and physicist at New York University. One of the spin-offs of his research in observational cosmology, and in engineering systems that can manage and analyze enormous data sets, is, a Web-based service that automatically calibrates amateur images of the sky for use in scientific investigations. Jane Hunter is a Professorial Research Fellow in the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE) at the University of Queensland and the Director of the eResearch Lab where she leads a team developing software services for managing and analyzing scientific and research data. Rick Bonney is Director of Program Development and Evaluation at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology and a co-founder of the lab's citizen science program. Founder and director of, he studies the impacts of public engagement in science.


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