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Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016

By September 23rd, 2016 at 12:47 am | Comment

ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit
The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016 is a two-day event, hosted by Arizona State University in partnership with SciStarter, designed to explore the crossroads of citizen science and the maker movement. The summit is scheduled for October 26 (evening), 27 & 28, 2016 in downtown Chandler, Arizona at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center.

Registration is now open with discounts before September 30.

Arizona State University is a thought leader in both the citizen science and maker movements. Through the SciStarter website (a research initiative of ASU), we host a collection of more than 1,600 citizen science projects and events. ASU also led the first university collaboration with the TechShop maker space. In 2014, ASU hosted the inaugural Maker Summit, focusing on the Maker movement in higher education. It attracted 200 attendees from around the country.

By bringing together our larger national network, the ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit seeks to promote cross-pollination, learning and future collaborations among makers, designers, scientists, citizen scientists, and higher education institutions in support of making and citizen science.

The ASU Citizen Science Maker Summit 2016 will facilitate the sharing of best practices and help jump-start opportunities for the citizen science and making communities to learn from each other. The event will include a combination of breakout sessions, skill-building workshops and networking events, as well as multiple keynote speakers and optional tours/activities.

Learn more about the speakers and the goals by visiting .

Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data

By August 16th, 2016 at 11:19 am | Comment

Nonscientists should take part in discussions about research priorities and more.
This article, Citizen Science Isn’t Just About Collecting Data, originally appeared in Slate AUG. 15 2016 7:31 AM
The earthquake near Washington, D.C., five years ago in August 2011—the one that damaged the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral but had little other noticeable impact—caught me by surprise. Sitting in an office on the 12th floor of a building downtown, I thought it might have been an improbably large truck on the street below, until a co-worker suggested we probably ought to leave the building. We spent the rest of that sunny afternoon milling around with other office workers before calling it a day and heading to happy hour.

What I did not do, but really wish that I had, was enter a description of my experience into the U.S. Geological Survey’s crowdsourcing initiative, Did You Feel It? The system collects data from people who have felt tremors to determine the extent and intensity of earthquakes in near-real time. The submitted data are used in the USGS ShakeMaps, which help organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency prepare for and respond to earthquakes.
Read the full article here.

Categories: In the News

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Conference Session: “Citizen Science 2.0: Expanding Reach, Expanding Results”

By August 9th, 2016 at 11:32 am | Comment


We all know that scientific research is done in sterile labs by nerds in white lab coats, the results of which eventually makes its way to the public through government agencies or mega corporations who own the ‘science’.  If you’ve not paid your dues in academia to get the appropriate science degrees, your capacity to participate in science is limited to the baking soda and vinegar volcano that you show off to your kids when it’s their Science Fair.

Wrong; and wrong.

Citizen Science may be the most widespread and important outsourcing enterprise ever attempted, and chances are you haven’t heard of it. Or if you have, you don’t know what’s out there or how you can get involved.  We’d like to change that by introducing you to two prominent Citizen Science programs that encourage and facilitate participation in real scientific research projects. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Events

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An Unlikely Journey Into Citizen Science

By July 26th, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Comment

I thought I’d share the introduction of The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science with you in case you wondered how I ever got linked up with science or citizen science. My story may strike some readers as extremely unlikely. For others, I bet it bears some resemblance to your own journey. Regardless of your path here, I’m glad we’re all connected to this field that enables us to shape the future, together.

In celebration of each person’s journey, SciStarter is joining Caren Cooper (@CoopSciScoop) on Twitter at @IamCitSci where one guest a week will take over the account to spark conversations and share first-person insights. I’ll be sharing parts of my journey during the week of August 8 and I hope you’ll chime in to share your own journey into citizen science!

Here’s that introduction I mentioned…

An Unlikely Journey Into Citizen Science

By Darlene Cavalier

The American shad is Philadelphia’s fish. Like the far more celebrated salmon, shad live their adult lives in cold, salty ocean waters and swim back to freshwater rivers and streams only to spawn. They’re tasty like salmon, too, if bonier and less fleshy (the fish’s Latin species name, Alosa sapidissima, means “most delicious fish”). Unlike salmon, though, shad can undertake their freshwater return migration several times in their lives — they are a most determined little fish. Shad were once so plentiful in the Philadelphia region that the Lenape Indians could hunt the fish in the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers with bows and arrows, and the shad industry provided the name for Fishtown, one of Philadelphia’s archetypal neighborhoods. Philadelphians like me take pride in the shad’s hardiness and history—they fed our country’s Founding Fathers, after all, and were a dietary staple of city residents for generations.

By the mid-20th century, however, the people who lived along Philadelphia’s rivers — many of whom depended on shad for their livelihoods — noticed that the shad were not migrating upriver as they had before. They were being hampered by twin human-produced barriers, one chemical and the other physical. The industrialization that powered the city’s prosperity had created a river system that was one of the most polluted in the country. Reportedly, the stink was so bad that military pilots were told to ignore the smell as they flew thousands of feet overhead. Meanwhile, as pollutants like phosphorous depleted oxygen levels in the rivers, a series of dams blocked migration routes; they established walls through which the shad couldn’t pass and couldn’t leap in their desperate attempts to reach their spawning grounds upstream. Fishermen and other locals did not know all the details at the time, but they observed declining fish numbers with great concern, knowing that the disappearance of the shad would affect their own economic and cultural survival.

Those citizens used what they did know about their environment, however, to guide their observations and inform their collection of data about local shad populations. With their findings, they were able to form hypotheses about the causes of the shad decline and communicate them to policymakers to encourage action in cleaning up the rivers. It was a process that sounds an awful lot like science and science-based policymaking.

I am inordinately fond of the shad, and perhaps I identify with the fish a little too closely. But how could I not? They are stubborn, persistent, maniacally focused creatures, and a legacy of a city I have called home for decades. It took a long, long time before the efforts of all those concerned citizens began to reverse the shad’s fortunes — and only in very recent years has there been some real ground for optimism. Yet the shad’s story provides a shining (albeit at times smelly) example of what can happen when non-professionals become involved in a scientific problem near and dear to their hearts. In some ways, their story mirrors that of my own journey and that of the field to which I have become dedicated: citizen science.

This book is intended to demonstrate the value and vitality of citizen science, and its terrific potential for involving many more everyday people in a dynamic and responsive scientific enterprise. This book is also addressed to people like me: those who, as young students, were not especially interested in dissecting frogs or working out physics problems, and had little desire to become professional researchers or engineers — but who, as adults, find themselves drawn to science, and more than a little curious as to how it shapes the world we live in. In some people, maybe, that interest shows itself as an itch to read about theories on the origins of the universe, or the search for unknown worlds or undiscovered species. Maybe it’s a hunger to know more about what lies behind the ever-rising tide of technological wonders. Maybe the urge is for all things environmental: to know more about climate change or biodiversity or simply what kinds of birds are nesting in the backyard. Or perhaps it’s a quest for greater clarity about the billions of federal tax dollars being spent on scientific research. There are a great number of us with such interests, and citizen science opens up a way for us all to become more involved in following our passions into the realms of research and policymaking.

In the diversity of projects described throughout this volume, the term “citizen science” encompasses a range of activities and involvement on the part of the public, a range large enough to include amateurs searching for hidden galaxies and middle school students documenting microbes culled from their belly buttons. Citizen scientists are often driven by an unending passion, whether to protect a species they care about, to speak up for people suffering from diseases or toxic exposures, or to watch over an ecosystem nearby. As Caren Cooper and Bruce Lewenstein illustrate in Chapter 2, citizen science encompasses at least two main pursuits. One involves citizens voluntarily contributing observations  and data to scientists, who then use this information in research. The other encompasses democratic participation in science and science policy, to ensure that it meets the needs and concerns of citizens. These are not mutually exclusive pursuits; indeed, one naturally engenders the other.

Because of this, citizen scientists can serve in a wide range of roles. Sometimes they are an educated volunteer researcher, collecting data, recording observations, and performing basic analyses. These roles can be especially useful on projects that are difficult to automate, where the human eye can make rapid work of complex problems. While these kinds of involvement have historically often been in one-time or context-specific roles, citizen scientists today can be involved in dozens of projects around the world. Sometimes, for instance, citizens are more active in designing and developing projects from the outset. For others, citizen science may mean a lifetime of government lobbying with science based data. On other occasions, they’re involved in research that would have been impossible a decade ago — like launching cube satellites into orbit.

All these components of citizen science increasingly overlap — that is, engaged citizens participating in scientific research desire a greater voice in how that research is conducted and what goals that research seeks to achieve. My own journey to citizen science certainly bears this out. Read the rest of this entry »

Categories: Citizen Science

Opportunity to sponsor first-of-its-kind summit to unite Citizen Science and Maker communities!

By July 23rd, 2016 at 11:43 pm | Comment

Arizona State University Citizen Science Maker Summit

Opportunity to sponsor first-of-its-kind summit to unite

Citizen Science and Maker communities!

Your support can increase the success of our efforts to develop a robust Citizen Science Maker community – one that can respond to the national need of bridging the demand for low-cost instruments so that citizens can contribute to scientific data and discovery.

The Citizen Science Maker Summit is a two-day event hosted by Arizona State University, in partnership with SciStarter, a research affiliate of ASU, and designed to facilitate the sharing of best practices between citizen science and Maker communities. The event will include a combination of national leaders from both communities as keynote speakers, topical sessions, skill-building workshops, and networking events. Experts from the Making and Citizen Science communities will be present, including signatories of the recent letter to President Obama, ”Fostering a Generation of Makers” and supporters of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s memorandum entitled “Addressing Societal and Scientific Challenges through Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing.” They will also discuss and lead interactive sessions on how to:

– infuse elements of making into existing citizen science projects and vice versa;
– expand university and community access to makers and citizen scientists;
– engage the K-12 and higher ed community in citizen science and making;
– connect makers with citizen scientists, researchers, Maker to Manufacturing experts;
– collaborate to build a database of low cost citizen science tools on SciStarter.

A total of 130 invited audience members are expected. All attendees will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences, share and learn best practices, and connect with educators, thought leaders and researchers committed to maker education and citizen science.

The Citizen Science Maker Summit will take place at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center (ACIC), an engineering and technology-based education and research hub located in the heart of downtown Chandler, Arizona. ACIC is used to host classes for ASU students along with workshops and events for the community. TechShop also operates in the space and is instrumental to the workshop. The Chandler TechShop is the most renowned maker space in the Southwest.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities or to discuss customized sponsorship packages for the Citizen Science Maker Summit, email Cindy Dick, program manager at

Grand Sponsor / $15,000
● Presenting sponsorship rights, verbal recognition at Summit and in press releases
● Two minutes to verbally welcome attendees
● Six tickets to the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Vendor table (or booth space ~ supplied by the sponsor) at Summit reception
● Logo on Citizen Science Maker Summit promotional event emails
● Logo on sponsorship signage/program at the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Logo on the Citizen Science Maker Summit website with hyperlink to company’s page
● Logo in all produced videos related to the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Mentions from ASU social media networks

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Gold Sponsor / $10,000
● Four tickets to the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Vendor table at the Citizen Science Maker Summit reception
● Logo on Citizen Science Maker Summit promotional event emails
● Logo on sponsorship signage/program at the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Logo on Citizen Science Maker Summit website with hyperlink to company’s page
● Logo in all produced videos related to the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Mentions from ASU social media networks

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Maroon Sponsor / $5,000
● Two tickets to the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Vendor space at the Citizen Science Maker Summit reception
● Logo on Citizen Science Maker Summit promotional event emails
● Logo on sponsorship signage/program at the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Logo on Citizen Science Maker Summit website with hyperlink to company’s page
● Logo in all produced videos related to the Citizen Science Maker Summit
● Mentions from ASU