Community market on campus

Citizen Science

What is citizen science?

University staff working outside on a community project

‘Citizen science’ refers to scientific research conducted with the active participation, engagement, and collaboration of the public (sometimes referred to as amateur scientists).

In citizen science projects, communities and scientists work together to address real-world problems. The use of citizen scientists in research projects has increased with more volunteers contributing their time, expertise, and perspective to enhance research through collecting or checking data, or more directly by initiating and executing research projects in their own communities.

Benefits of citizen science

  • Improves citizens’ own scientific knowledge and understanding, contributing to higher scientific literacy in communities
  • Increases participation and engagement in research, facilitating research on a bigger scale.
  • Citizen science democratises science and promotes the values and goals of open research
  • Integrates the scientific method with societal needs to meaningfully apply research in addressing real-world issues
  • Data collected and generated by public involvement has become an increasingly important source for scientists, especially in biodiversity and pollution studies
  • Inclusive and equitable approach to science which can be done by all age groups and education levels

Zooniverse and SciStarter are popular and community-driven citizen science platforms.

Further resources