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Agriculture Librarian

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Randa Lopez Morgan
141 LSU Library

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What is Citizen Science

Citizen Science or community science engages the public in scientific research. It usually requires no background knowledge or previous experience in order to participate. 

"Through citizen science and crowdsourcing, the federal government and nongovernmental organizations can engage the American public in addressing societal needs and accelerating science, technology, and innovation.

In citizen science, the public participates voluntarily in the scientific process, addressing real-world problems in ways that may include formulating research questions, conducting scientific experiments, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, making new discoveries, developing technologies and applications, and solving complex problems. In crowdsourcing, organizations submit an open call for voluntary assistance from a large group of individuals for online, distributed problem solving."


Citizen Scientists are everyday people who enjoy engaging in the scientific process to help further science. Projects can rage from talking soil samples in specific areas to helping translate old journals into english. There is a wide variety of projects that can entertain the whole family. 


Citizen Science in the News

Butterflies are vanishing due to Climate Change
Watertown Daily Times (NY), 10 Mar. 2021, p. 2. NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
"Even if you just took the professors that were on this paper, all of us, we couldn't cover that geographic area," said Katy Prudic, an entomologist at the University of Arizona who helps run one of the online butterfly database. "There's just not enough of us. So this work, the comparison across the entire West, could not be done without citizen science."

Citizen Scientists Are Helping Researchers Design New Drugs to Combat COVID-19
“Citizen Scientists Are Helping Researchers Design New Drugs to Combat Covid-19.” States News Service, 2020. Gale in Context: Biography. Accessed 11 Mar. 2021.
“Using a free computer game called Foldit, researchers are enlisting the help of citizen scientists to design drugs that could stop the novel coronavirus from infecting human cells.”

Algal bloom strikes Mirror Lake - Lake Placid: Officials say - formation near public beach could be harmful to humans and animals
IZZO, E. 15 Nov. 2020. Algal bloom strikes Mirror Lake Lake Placid: Officials say formation near public beach could be harmful to humans and animals. Watertown Daily Times (NY), p. B2. Available from NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current
“A harmful algal bloom was also discovered for the first time on Lake George over the weekend, the Glens Falls Post-Star reported Tuesday. It was discovered along the shoreline in Harris Bay by a group of citizen scientists working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Citizen Statewide Assessment Program.”

Citizen scientists discover strange new world that pro astronomers missed
NBC News, 11 Jan. 2019, Access 11 Mar. 2021.
“Citizen scientists are very complete — very good at finding every little blip in the data,” Jessie Christiansen, an astronomer at Caltech and a co-founder of Exoplanet Explorers, said in an email.”

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