What is a Citizen Scientist? The word citizen may imply a simpler set of criteria then an advanced degree and having been published multiple times. It may imply that one has never worked as a scientist but still engages in critical thought on the topics held by science. Citizen is often interpreted in this context as a person of the global community and scientist, according to Wikipedia(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientist) is a person who perform research toward a more comprehensive understanding of nature, including physical, mathematical and social realms by using the scientific method. The institutions of science would say a citizen scientist is an unaffiliated individual in the general public that helps them gather or process data.
These are idealistic and simplistic boundaries for one to consider for the identification of a citizen scientist. In wikis definition of a scientist it neglects the many social constructs that have narrowed the ability for most to become a influential contributor to science. The citizen is all of us, the professionals and the lay, affiliated and not. Every person has knowledge, experience, and insight that could contribute to the advancement of science. Alan Irwin, a British sociologist, defines citizen scientist as “developing concepts of scientific citizenship which foregrounds the necessity of opening up science and science policy processes to the public”(Riesch and Potter 2014). Irwin sought to reclaim two dimensions of the relationship between citizens and science: 1) that science should be responsive to citizens’ concerns and needs; and 2) that citizens themselves could produce reliable scientific knowledge.(Cavalier and Kennedy)
Citizen science is an organic solution developing from the rise in education and the interconnectedness of the web to help solve the bigger problems in science while bringing the inner workings of science into the modern era. The process by which “science” is practiced and accredited has become antiquated, biased, and borderline corrupt. These should be considered given outcomes to a structure that uses pre-internet methods in a internet age. Technology has increased the speed and dynamics that could be brought to the scientific process and social hive mind tools can bring the knowledge and experience of the worlds educated millions to the pursuit of furthering the sciences.
9 RESE’ sees citizen science as the melding of global un-affiliated interdisciplinary thought, knowledge, and experience in the development of radical insights, discoveries, and innovation; and the citizen scientists as those who contribute to such ventures. 9 RESE’s mission is to assist citizen scientists to progress the sciences and innovation. Many citizens are engaging the sciences in new ways with great excitement and insight. It is not easy and for a non-professional it can be intimidating to engage in the arena of science. Shortening the learning curve to becoming effective in contributing to the sciences and navigating resources is one area 9 RESE’ has focused on in their pursuit of assisting the citizen scientists.
The challenges that citizen scientist face are not unique but a magnified version of the challenges faced by all of science. Some of these challenges are:
- The body of knowledge for any one field is to vast for anyone person to comprehend let alone the knowledge of another field. This inevitably leads to missed insights and redundant work.
- Interdisciplinary knowledge is difficult to access, asses, and incorporate. Slowing the unification of knowledge and the sciences.
- Competition for funding, peer review, and print/accreditation is fierce and increasingly saturated. Drastically marginalizing thousands of worthy proposals and voices.
- Bias and conservative practices are affecting the choices of many funding and publication institutions to choose “safer” studies to support.
- Knowledge is mostly behind paywalls limiting access to the insights needed to further science at exponential speeds.
- Advance tools and data sets are not accessible to non-institutional individuals. This limits the effectiveness some studies and data processing can provide.
Platforms for citizen scientist are popping up to assist with research, collaboration, the many aspects of data, inspiration, and much more. 9 RESE’ is developing a platform for the citizen science communities investigating the harmonic, magnetic, and electrical natures of the universe. The platform at 9rese.com provides a space to share and collaborate; provide fodder for conversation and inspiration; and access tools that assist in research, experimentation, studies, collaboration, and productivity. In its humble beginnings the site offers basic forum and group functions for the discussion of ideas and the development of ideas. The 9 RESE’ team will be developing video content for the site that explores community topics in-depth and interviews with notable researchers and community members. With community input and support the site will be a powerful research tool and collaboration space. Come help build the citizen science movement and communities by participating in the conversations and efforts at 9rese.com.
Author: Todd Cleckner
The following cartoon by Caren Cooper at “The Counter Culture a world of citizen science” perfectly embodies the idea of citizen science and the goals of 9rese.com. Thank you Caren for making these available to all!
9RESE.COM is the place for the Global Community of Citizen Scientist investigating the Harmonic, Magnetic, and Electrical Nature of the Universe.
To contribute to this community check out 9rese.com Memberships.