Citizen science is when regular people help scientists with their research and projects. Citizen scientists usually collect information and send it to a team of scientists, who examine and process it. Most citizen scientists are volunteers and do not get paid.
Sometimes scientists ask for help from people who are collecting information anyway. For example, scientists studying birds might ask birdwatchers to record which birds they see and hear and then tell the scientists. The National Audubon Society has been running a Christmas Bird Count since 1900.
Smartphones and GPS have made citizen science easier to do and easier for scientists to ask for and use. For example, in FrogWatch USA, citizen scientists go to places where frogs live and use their phones to make recordings of the sounds they hear.
Not all citizen science programs mean going outside. In EyeWire, volunteers visit a website and click on what they can see. This helps scientists tell how the brain works with things the eyes see.
In other citizen science programs, volunteers measure temperature to track climate change, tell scientists when different plants start to grow in the spring, search for aliens in space, and design better bicycle routes.
- "Citizen science". National Geographic. Retrieved December 31, 2019.