Apr 13, 2011

My fascination with citizen science

Citizen Science is a powerful method to do science because it involves hundreds or even thousands of citizens who participate in the data gathering and analysis. It makes certain types of scientific endeavours very feasible because of its low cost. The "average citizen" collaborate voluntarily. Main advantages of citizen science:
  • It is cheaper than the traditional research, by traditional research I mean when the data gathering and analysis is done by one or a group of researchers (usually PhD students or university professors).
  • It generates positive externalities in the sense that it creates curiosity (a culture of curiosity) and appreciation for science among people who would not be interested otherwise.
All of these are very relevant specially in developing countries, where money for research is very limited. It is also relevant because in most of the developing world universities are "teaching universities," which means that the demand for research does not come from universities but it might come from the bottom - up.   

This is the citizen science website at Cornell. This is a video by the NSF on the Cornell project.

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