What is Citizen Science?
Citizen science is about public involvement in scientific research. Citizen science means that anybody can go out and be involved in researching, collecting and analyzing data. This enables us to answer questions, that one organisation might not be able to answer by themselves. Getting involved can be as simple as going online and looking through photographs but can involve getting outside and collecting data as well. From listening to bat calls to tracking microplastics we can all help our environment.
The rise in the numbers of smartphones and tablets which have GPS sensors has enabled citizen science to be more available. Now anyone with a phone or tablet can go out and collect data wherever they are.
Why Citizen Science?
There are numerous applications that citizen science can be used for, which provide a wealth of benefits. For the CS4ESD project it is being used to help teach young people about the environment they live in, and engage them in important environmental issues. In general, there are a wide range or reasons/benefits for citizen science, some of which are:
- Ubiquitous nature of mobile devices – making large citizen science projects viable.
- Limited training needed providing the user interface on the device is well designed, since people are familiar with mobile devices these days.
- Growing number of tools/sensors on mobile devices, increasing the amount of types of data to collect.
- Crowd sourcing options available means large amounts of data can be collected in a cost-effective way, and there is no need to send people across the globe to validate remote projects/collect data.
- Through citizen science people can understand better and be more enthused about the world we live in and the importance in monitoring and protecting it.
- Citizen science projects can bring people together on local, regional and global scales.
- Citizen science projects can bridge the gap between academic institutions, citizens, commercial/not-for-profit companies and charities
- Promotes knowledge sharing.
- Projects can be enjoyable and participation can be beneficial for peoples well-being.
- Peoples voices and opinions can be heard.
- Enables better decision-making by being able to reach out to more people and collect larger datasets.