Citizen science: Introducing special coverage of a growing movement

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For the next two months, we, along with the rest of the online journalism class at Western University's Masters of Arts in Journalism program will be exploring the emerging world of citizen science. The result will be a seven-part series to published here at the beginning in April.

Citizen science?

It's is a growing movement that brings together professional scientists with regular people around the globe. Together, they're using their eyes, ears, smartphones and the Internet to expand scientific knowledge and give us all a better understanding of the world we live in. 

Birdwatchers, hockey players, gamers, astronomy lovers, and health enthusiasts all have the ability and knowledge to contribute to the scientific community.

Sometimes it's just a matter of keeping a close eye on a bird's nest, the time of year a tree blossoms or counting frog calls in a marshland. Other citizen scientists spot spiral galaxies in deep space photos or use software to fold complex 3D proteins. And others are activists using their data to make change in the world around them.

Citizen science has exploded in the last few years, thanks to smartphones that, with the right apps, can become powerful scientific instruments. And, thanks to the Internet, that's connected citizen scientists and their data to the scientists who collect, analyze and share the results -- in scholarly journals and online.

The class is investigating the basics of the citizen science movement, the important questions and concerns in the field as well as discovering what lies ahead. Through text, videos, maps, audio, and infographics we'll be providing in-depth coverage as well as analysis of the movement.

But we need your help.

Maybe you're a scientist leading a citizen science project. Or, perhaps you're a citizen scientist yourself. We'd love to hear from you. Or, maybe you'd just like to help spread the word about our project. Great. We'd love to have you join the adventure.

You can track our progress here, spread the word and help link us with others involved in the movement. And you can email us at uwocitizenscienceproject[at]gmail[dot]com. We'd love to hear from you.

And, look for the final feature series coming here in April. We promise you a fascinating look into a world where everyone's a scientist, or, at least, everyone's committing acts of science.


Follow the Western University Citizen Science Project for updates:
Twitter: @westerncitsci


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