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Citizen and Community Science

Provides resources, strategies and information on conducting research, participating in, and creating citizen and community science projects.

Projects You Can Join

This guide contains numerous resources that include ways to get involved with citizen and community science. Below, we have listed the big name platforms for citizen science that include multiple ongoing projects. 

  • National Geographic Citizen Science Projects - National Geographic hosts a large collection of citizen science projects that individuals can take part in along with articles related to community science to solve real world problems. 

  • Zooniverse - The Zooniverse platform focuses mainly on visual identification for large image sets in the tens of thousands, and breaks down their projects based upon subject matter. 

  • The Cornell Lab of Ornithology - In addition to providing family-friendly projects related to nest watching, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology also provides online classes and digital tools for birders. 

  • Citsci.org - Citsci.org has a large collection of citizen science projects, many of which involve primary data collection. The projects are searchable by keywords. 

  • SciStarter​ - SciStarter provides a large variety of citizen scientist projects, covering subjects from geology to linguistics.The website has an intuitive layout, and provides a wide range of projects for different age groups. 

  • North Carolina State University Citizen Science Projects - Although mostly focused on citizen and community science resources for NCSU students, the website also includes a number of successful projects that anyone can contribute and participate in. 

 

Thinking About Your Own Project

Before you get started, it is worthwhile to read up on or browse already existing projects to see what works and what doesn't work. Citizen science projects can take many forms and serve many purposes from environmental justice, to tracking the growth of kelp forests, to games focused on protein folding. We suggest watching an episode or two of The Crowd & The Cloud

Although we provide a number of resources to help you ground yourself before a consultation, the Shapiro Design Lab is here to help you develop and design a citizen or community science project regardless of your technical or formal training. If you would like to start exploring the possibilities of creating a citizen science project, please set up a consultation with the Shapiro Design Lab.

We recommend looking through the European Citizen Science Association's "10 Principles of Citizen Science", which establishes ethics, goals, and intent behind citizen and community science. Additionally, the Citizen Science Association Research and Evaluation Working Group created a list of resources focused on project creation and evaluation. 

Citizen Science Project Builders:

The process of creating your own citizen science project can be pretty straightforward. Below are two citizen and community science project builders that members of the Shapiro Design Lab would be happy to walk you through. 

Zooniverse Project Builder

Citsci.org Project Builder

 

 

Citizen Science Project Funding

Despite recent cuts in scientific funding, there are still a number of institutions that provide grant money for citizen and community science projects. If you would like help with grant writing, check out these grant writing resources
  • EarthWatch Institute - The EarthWatch Institute offers three-year funding cycles for citizen science projects. 
  • Citizen Science Center List - This aggregated list of citizen science funding sources was compiled by the Citizen Science Center and is updated regularly. 
Additionally, consider contacting your subject librarian for discipline specific grants and funds, or contact Paul J Barrow, the University of Michigan Library specialist in grant seeking and philanthropy. 

Shapiro Design Lab Citizen Science Kits

If you are interested in trying out some citizen science data collection techniques, the University of Michigan Shapiro Design Lab carries a number of citizen science kits from organizations such as Public Lab, Foldscope, and more. Individuals who are interested in trying out one of these kits can email the Design Lab at shapirodesignlab@umich.edu for a consultation. Additionally, the different organizations who created these kits are in the resource sections of the links below.

Contacts

Shapiro Design Lab

1st Floor Shapiro Library
919 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1185
(734) 764-7490 (p)

email: shapirodesignlab@umich.edu