U.S. Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit

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Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit

Crowdsourcing and citizen science help federal agencies to innovate, collaborate and discover. In this toolkit, you will learn how to design and maintain projects. You can also read through case studies and access additional resources related to communities that practice crowdsourcing and citizen science.

The benefits of citizen science and crowdsourcing are many. Citizen science and crowdsourcing enable research at large geographic scales and over long periods of time in ways that professional scientists working alone could not easily duplicate. Public participation extends research into places that would otherwise be difficult to reach, from the top of high-altitude glaciers to our own microbiomes.

The U.S. Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (CCS) meets monthly to share lessons learned and develop best practices for designing, implementing, and evaluating crowdsourcing and citizen science initiatives. Learn more about the CCS (https://www.digitalgov.gov/communities/federal-crowdsourcing-and-citizen...)

Open Science and Innovation: Of the People, By the People, For the People

Goals: 

 The toolkit on Crowdsourcing and citizen science will help federal agencies to innovate, collaborate and discover. In this toolkit, you will learn how to design and maintain projects. You can also read through case studies and access additional resources related to communities that practice crowdsourcing and citizen science.

"I'm delighted by the diversity of participants we have here today: to see that researchers, students, community leaders, NGOs, entrepreneurs, academics, government employees, and many others are embracing the value of citizen science and crowdsourcing. Indeed, the future of citizen science will involve networks and partnerships across many kinds of organizations, and I hope that this White House Citizen Science Forum will stimulate some new projects and collaborations." Dr. John P. Holdren Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

High Level Impact: 

Here are a few examples of the impressive variety of high-impact citizen science and crowdsourcing efforts going on today:

  • One example is in the natural world. In 2009, the USA National Phenology Network founded Nature’s Notebook, a national, online program that allows both amateur and professional naturalists to record their observations of plants and animals. Over the past six years, more than 5,500 volunteers have submitted more than 5.7 million observations to the Notebook, which includes data on 31,000 unique species. These crowdsourced data have contributed to 17 peer-reviewed scientific publications on topics as diverse as timing of ragweed pollen maxima and effects of climate variation on production of native seeds in California.
  • For instance, there’s a project called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, which since 1998 has been getting volunteers of all ages working together to measure and map precipitation. A recent report found that students who participated in this project improved their science skills and were more likely to aspire to a career in STEM. As one teacher put it, “That’s all my kids talked about … They were so excited to think that … what we record every day matters.”