Last week I attended a conference about Citizen Science in Zurich. I found that the Standards (for scientists) and Policy Recommendations (for policymakers) documents that were being discussed were mostly aimed at improving the credibility of citizen science in the eyes of funding agencies, rather than helping aspiring citizen science projects tackle some of the practical issues that arise in such research. In addition, I found that many of the people working with citizen science now have all kinds of goals and issues in mind that go beyond a traditional ‘do good science’ standpoint (e.g. to open up science, educate the public, speed up innovation and increase return on investment).
More promisingly for us at Crowdfindings, it was confirmed again that citizen scientists bring all kinds of expertise to the table, and are motivated to contribute to scientific projects if you facilitate this properly. I also learned that we are quite unique in our emphasis on the added value to ‘doing good science’ by involving citizen scientists. Finally, we are still unique in our knowledge domain: the first and only project to work towards citizen social science: not just more computers (SETI@Home), or eyes (Galaxy Zoo) or even hands (Foldit), but more minds.
We’re going to take these lessons with us in the development of our tool and are excited to learn what the future will bring us.