Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Citizen scientist: Helping scientists help themselves

Date:
October 3, 2010
Source:
Inderscience Publishers
Summary:
Researchers have mapped out an approach to virtual organizations that might allow scientific advances made in part by citizen scientists to move forward much more quickly.

We are all scientists now, thanks to SETI@home, Galaxy Zoo, The Great Sunflower Project, Folding@home and counltess other projects that allow individuals to take part in scientific research directly or indirectly. In the case of SETI@home and Folding@home one shares one's computer CPU with the researchers, whereas Galaxy Zoo is more about active involvement with the classification of stellar objects in images of the night sky, for instance.

Related Articles


Now, writing in the International Journal of Organisational Design and Engineering, US researchers have mapped out an approach to virtual organizations that might allow scientific advances made in part by citizen scientists to move forward much more quickly.

"Citizen science is a form of organisation design for collaborative scientific research involving scientists and volunteers, for which internet-based modes of participation enable massive virtual collaboration by thousands of members of the public," explains Andrea Wiggins of Syracuse University, New York, who works in the research group of Kevin Crowston. Earlier work on virtual organizations, the team points out has focused on distributed collaboration among scientists and related professionals. However, the rapidly increasing power of personal computers, the connectivity afforded by the internet and social media, as well as an apparent growing interest in scientific discovery means there is much greater access to scientific discovery for non-scientists than ever before.

The team explains that, "Citizen science projects conducted via web technologies can yield massive virtual collaborations based on voluntary contributions by diverse participants. The increasing scale of citizen science projects, some of which involve hundreds of thousands of members of the public in distributed data collection and analysis, suggests a need for additional research. In particular, designing organisations to support this form of scientific knowledge production requires understanding the effects of organisation and task design on the scientific outcomes of citizen science projects."

The team has used an existing theoretical framework borrowed from the social sciences and normally used for small organizational groups to build a new model of how best to organize the volunteers in a distributed, collaborative scientific experiment. The approach has allowed them to look at how volunteers might register, interact and reveal the results due to their efforts.

"The theoretical model highlights some key aspects of organizing and running citizen science projects," explains Wiggins. "This could assist people creating new projects or designing supporting technologies for them in better understanding the complex relationships between the diverse elements that go into generating good outcomes, both in terms of volunteer experiences and scientific results." She points out that, "Many project organizers are initially surprised by the extent and variety of the decisions that go into setting up a large-scale project to engage the public in science, so we hope this model provides a starting point to help promote intentional design and decision-making to better support learning and discovery."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Andrea Wiggins, Kevin Crowston. Developing a conceptual model of virtual organisations for citizen science. International Journal of Organisational Design and Engineering, 2010; 1 (1/2): 148 DOI: 10.1504/IJODE.2010.035191

Cite This Page:

Inderscience Publishers. "Citizen scientist: Helping scientists help themselves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100920101157.htm>.
Inderscience Publishers. (2010, October 3). Citizen scientist: Helping scientists help themselves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100920101157.htm
Inderscience Publishers. "Citizen scientist: Helping scientists help themselves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100920101157.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Sony Hack, What's Next?

After Sony Hack, What's Next?

Reuters - US Online Video (Dec. 19, 2014) The hacking attack on Sony Pictures has U.S. government officials weighing their response to the cyber-attack. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins