Citizen science refers to the involvement of the general public in scientific research activities, often in collaboration with professional scientists and sometimes in an educational setting or Special Interest Group. This approach allows for collecting more data from various locations and perspectives, leading to more comprehensive and accurate insights into natural or artificial phenomena. Citizen science projects can involve various activities, including data collection, analysis, and interpretation. They can also cover various topics, from ecology and environmental monitoring to astronomy and medical research.
One of the critical benefits of citizen science is that it allows individuals to deepen their understanding of science while contributing to research efforts. It can also help to foster a sense of community and shared purpose among participants, who may come from diverse backgrounds and have different levels of scientific expertise.
Moreover, citizen science has led to significant scientific discoveries and advances, such as the discovery of new species, the mapping of the human microbiome, and the identification of potential treatments for diseases. These achievements demonstrate the value of involving the public in scientific research and the potential of citizen science to contribute to scientific knowledge and progress.
Although there is no one-size-fits-all definition of citizen science, it generally involves the active participation of non-professional scientists in scientific research. As such, it can take many forms and be adapted to suit different research goals and contexts.