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Crowd science, also known as citizen science or participatory science, refers to the practice of engaging and involving the general public or non-expert individuals in scientific research. It is a collaborative approach where volunteers, often referred to as citizen scientists, actively contribute to scientific projects by collecting data, analysing information, or participating in research activities.
In crowd science, the power of collective effort is harnessed to tackle scientific challenges and generate new knowledge. It allows scientists to leverage the skills, enthusiasm, and diverse perspectives of a large number of participants, expanding the scope and scale of research efforts. This approach has gained popularity in various scientific disciplines, including astronomy, ecology, environmental science, biology, and many more.
Data collection: Participants can collect and contribute data by making observations, recording measurements, or taking photographs in their local environments. This can help gather large datasets covering broad geographic areas or long time spans that would be challenging for a small research team to achieve alone.
Data analysis: Citizen scientists can assist in analysing collected data by categorizing images, identifying patterns, classifying objects, or transcribing information. This helps researchers process and interpret large amounts of data more efficiently.
Problem-solving: Crowd science projects sometimes involve posing specific research questions or challenges to participants, asking them to provide solutions, ideas, or insights based on their unique perspectives or expertise. This collective problem-solving approach can lead to innovative solutions and novel discoveries.
Collaboration and feedback: Participants can collaborate with researchers by providing feedback, sharing their knowledge and expertise, or participating in discussions. Their input can help shape research directions, refine methodologies, or improve the overall scientific process.
Increased data collection and analysis capacity: By involving a large number of participants, crowd science projects can gather vast amounts of data and accelerate data analysis, enabling researchers to address complex research questions that require extensive observations or computations.
Geographic and temporal coverage: Citizen scientists can contribute data from various locations, including remote or inaccessible areas. This enhances the geographic and temporal coverage of research, providing a more comprehensive understanding of phenomena or processes.
Public engagement and education: Crowd science projects foster public engagement in scientific endeavours, allowing individuals to directly contribute to research and learn about the scientific process. It promotes science literacy and encourages a deeper understanding of scientific concepts among participants.
Diverse perspectives and creativity: Citizen scientists bring diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to the research process, potentially generating new insights, innovative ideas, and alternative approaches that might not be considered by a traditional research team.
Crowd science is scientific research that is conducted with the participation of volunteers who are not professional scientists. Thanks to the Internet and online platforms, project initiators can draw on a potentially large number of volunteers. This crowd can be involved to support data-rich or labour-intensive projects that would otherwise be unfeasible.
Methods and applications:
Open Source Research collaboration launched as a crowd science initiative in 2018. It has been growing in size and global reach since then. We are working:
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