Talk:Citizen science

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Networked Science is not Citizen Science[edit]

I am a student doing research on the topics of Open Science, Open Access, Open Research, Science 2.0, Citizen Science, Amateur Science, Peer-2-Peer Science and Networked Science. The definitions among them vary and overlap sometimes as they are not clearly defined.

Networked Science is more keen to Science 2.0 which is the idea of using Web 2.0 technologies for a more open and collaborative way of doing and sharing science. Networked Science is a term and concept developed mi Michael Nielson in his book (2012) "Reinventing discovery: the new era of networked science". There he points to examples of networked science such as arXiv which is an open access repository of scientific papers, many of them pre-published, and he also notes the example of Galaxy Zoo. Galaxy Zoo is citizen science but arXiv is not. So I suggest that these two be separate.

Also, a useful categorization and understanding of citizen science: From Alessandro Delfanti (2010) "Users and peers. From Citizen Science to P2P Science" Journal of Science Communication, 9(01).

There are three types of peer-2-peer (P2P) science

  • Contribution to knowledge, such as discussions about science or Wikipedia.
  • Contribution to data collection, processing, and analysis organized by a central institution like Galaxy Zoo (which I would distinguish as Crowdsourced Science since computing resources and cognitive capital is capitalized from the public)
  • Independent contribution as user-led science such as DIYbio — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sabgaby (talkcontribs) 21:19, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

Sabgaby (talk) 21:23, 8 July 2014 (UTC)

User:Sabgaby, I agree that this is a dynamic and exciting field that is changing very rapidly. I encourage you to add to these pages you've linked above, explaining the ongoing work and the emerging definitions for these new approaches to science. However, please keep in mind that everything in WP should come from a Reliable Source such as the journal article and book you mention above, and should not be Original Research. That said, feel free to contribute to the discussion! 1bandsaw (talk) 21:52, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
1bandsaw, this is my first entry to wikipedia, thanks for welcomming me! I am of course in no authority to say anything about the subject, all I wanted to point out is that in researching the subject it is all very confusing because definitions vary depending on the observer. I would like to edit some of these pages maybe to make it more clear (With reliable sources of course). I saw on your (talk) that you are interested on making some changes on the issue as well. We could maybe keep the discussion ongoing? also, is this page the discussion page? haha I am pretty new so I don't know the lingo. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sabgaby (talkcontribs) 12:21, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
User:Sabgaby, This page is the talk page for Citizen Science, where editors can discuss this article, ask questions about it, and debate issues on it. From your initial post above, it looks like you have some good additional information with sources that could contribute to this article and the related articles that you linked to. WP has a policy to encourage editors like us to be bold! Edit the articles and add the sources! Then look for other articles that interest you, and see what else you can add. As relates specifically to Citizen science, I agree that the definitions and boundaries are very confusing as different experts draw the lines differently. Don't be afraid to reflect that debate from the literature onto this page, expanding on the Alternate Definitions and Related Fields sections, or adding a new section. 1bandsaw (talk) 17:51, 9 July 2014 (UTC)



I would like to suggest to edit the page to:

"Some programs provide materials specifically for use by primary or secondary school students. As such, citizen science is one approach to [both, formal and] informal science education.

Note that it is contradictory to state citizen science is an approach to informal science education, right after stating that some programs provide materials specifically for use by primary or secondary school students.

Unless what one really wanted to say is that citizen science is informal science. But that isn't the case either because there are high qualified scientists behind data gathering and analysis across the world.

My suggestion is to highlight that citizen science encompasses both dimensions, formal and informal in both domains, science and science education.

I hope this is a useful contribution.

It is after all, a nice article with great external references.

Fsoares67 (talk) 17:14, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you have citable sources for these thoughts? Wikipedia cannot use "original research", no matter how valid it might be. --Orlady (talk) 18:55, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Do you mean a source for considering school education formal education? That's as commonsense as it is considering informal education what doesn't go on in schools. In regards to high qualified scientists, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology cited in the article is a good example, but I would like also to suggest WorldBirds plus the plethora of research studies supported by EarthWatch.

There is no source to state citizen science is an approach to informal science education either in the article. Please, clarify what conjecture source you refer too.

Please, clarify —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fsoares67 (talkcontribs) 19:03, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me I'm new to Wikipedia. I'm going to organize my sources and come back. I am affectionate to citizen science and that is actually the research topic of my dissertation. That's why I though I could contribute. Narrowing citizen science to an approach to informal science education is flat wrong, though. I have a short review of projects aimed to K-12 education. It couldn't get more formal than that. Posting sources as soon as possible. Fsoares67 19:23, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Thus far I was unable to contact the author, and I suspect the review has not been published. Nevertheless, I strongly suggest to not limit the concept of Citizen Science to informal science education. It is also a pedagocial approach to increase scientific literacy among students, thus playing an important role in formal science education.-- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fsoares67 (talkcontribs) 14:26, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


Would citizen science be a kind of crowd-sourcing? That's what I would call it from other examples, e.g. publish photos of something and have people look at them and log the details. —Monado (talk) 04:34, 22 January 2011 (UTC)

  • Yes, from Wikipedia's own article on same! —Monado (talk) 04:35, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
  • No: while it may include the use of crowd-sourcing as a technique or tactic, it is much more than that... Equating the two is erroneous in my view... Regards, DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 12:55, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

Related book[edit]

New book, may be useful for expanding/referencing this article: Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen. Jodi.a.schneider (talk) 06:34, 10 October 2011 (UTC)

Connection to related issue[edit]

Professional vs. amateur science into the 19th century is more complex than "amateur"/"self-funded." Newton was a Fellow of Cambridge at age 25, and Lucasian Chair at age 27. Franklin was the 1st president of the American Philosophical Society, and a founder of the University of Pennsylvania. The professionalization of science is an interesting topic in its own right, which has a lot to do with industrialization, invention and shifting roles of academic engineering in invention, adaptation of the German Model in US academia (, the impact of WW I on supplies of high tech commodities (Germany, generally), and later, WW-II on research funding, followed by Vannevar Bush's "Endless Frontier," and support for relatively expensive research projects via a granting process that strictly enforces applicant's professionalism in order to guarantee returns on the investment (mandates on publishing - publish-or-perish). It should be noted that a number of calls for proposals by granting agencies include requests that planning include public outreach and participation. Two books that explore these questions are and . DanP4522874 (talk) 16:38, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

More balance needed[edit]

I'd like to see some more discussion about criticism and limitations of Citizen science. Issues such as data quality, bias, limitations of untrained volunteers, and release of sensitive information (e.g. locations of endangered species) are certainly relevant and should be expanded upon. --Animalparty-- (talk) 01:40, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Indeed; I've been writing a lengthy article on the astronomical project Galaxy Zoo. As a participant in it for seven years, it has become part of my life (sad though that might seem). However, I never read much that criticises citizen science and crowdsourcing. Presumably the precesses involved are not without faults? I'm an amateur astronomer and not a professional scientist, but presumably scientists are citizens too? I'm interested in acheiving a sense of balance. If no critics exist, then so be it. I've also placed Galaxy Zoo and Zooniverse in the 'See Also' section in this article. Richard Nowell (talk) 11:00, 27 July 2014 (UTC)
Here's a paper: 'Internet-based crowdsourcing and research ethics: the case for IRB review' by Mark A Graber and Abraham Graber. Journal Medical Ethics published online November 30, 2012, doi: 10.1136/medethics-2012-100798.Richard Nowell (talk) 09:39, 28 July 2014 (UTC)


It appears to me that this article has grown over time thanks to the help of multiple contributors. However, it looks like it could use a bit of a reorganization. The current structuring as I see it is:
Activities, consisting first of a list of numerous examples and then a general discussion of the nature of citizen science
New Technologies, consisting of a list of examples enabled by mobile phones, an example of live video, a list of examples of internet enabled examples, and a debate on whether distributed computing is citizen science.
Amateur Astronomy
Citizens in space, an opportunity for folks to train as astronauts for the future
History, consisting of a discussion of the transition of science from amateur to professionals, and a discussion of the history of the term Citizen Science
Other Definitions (of the term)

I would propose the following restructuring of this article:
Definition, including the general discussion from Activities, the history of the term, the alternate definitions, and the discussion/comparison with distributed computing, and the limitations discussion.
History, including the transition of science from amateurs, progressing through low-tech older examples (astronomy being featured prominently including recent events), and then moving into video, internet, and phone enabling (with examples and dates added) and citizens in space as a possible near-term future example depending upon citizen spaceflight capabilities.
The examples would all be checked to make sure they are on List of citizen science projects, and then moderately trimmed to those of note either for total participation or historical significance (among the first to do a given approach or technology). Beyond that, the rest of the content of this page would remain, just be organized for a better flow.
I would welcome input on this suggestion here on this talk page. 1bandsaw (talk) 20:27, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Support: Sounds great, thanks. While you are at it, you might review the multitude of external links and ensure their continued relevance. Kind regards, DA Sonnenfeld (talk) 21:43, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

The reorg is done. I've left some of the pruned examples for now on talk:List of citizen science projects until I figure out how to put entries into a table like the one on that page. The other outstanding action on this is the pruning of the external links as recommended above. I don't have to be the one to do either, others can feel free to volunteer.1bandsaw (talk) 03:10, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

I've been doing a lot of updating and editing, post the ZooCon Portsmouth 2014 Wikithon. I hope this is OK with everyone. The refs needed sorting, and I've endeavoured to replace blog refs with 'proper refs'. It still needs quite a lot of work though I feel. Richard Nowell (talk) 08:43, 16 September 2014 (UTC)

User:Richard Nowell, it looks good overall. The one thing I might suggest is that the new header in there ('Project Portals') breaks up the overall 'Modern Technology' section, and not everything after that header is about Project portals. It might make more sense to take the text that has to do with internet related tools, including the project portals, and pull those together, putting the other things (radio, mobile, genetic, UAVs, etc.) into a separate heading. 1bandsaw (talk) 20:24, 21 September 2014 (UTC)