Reports from the Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association conference

By Darlene Cavalier February 18th, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Comment 1

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Citizen Science Hackfest on 2/11 at the Citizen Science Association’s conference in San Jose, CA! This hands-on and discussion-driven meet-up was a wonderful opportunity for participants to  dream up AND build creative tools to improve the field of citizen science! .

Once we settled into our digs (conveniently situated between the bar and food!) and after our ears adjusted to the noise around us, Arvind Suresh (SciStarter’s managing editor) kicked things off with introductions and each project owner pitched their ideas.
hackfest introductions

 

Steve Gano, our director of product development at SciStarter, organized the pitches into themes.

citizen science hackfest project ideas

We divided the projects into four groups:

1) Platform Interoperability. This team worked on what is needed to better support online data management for citizen science projects . There’s so much work to be explored here. Contact Greg Newman (Gregory.Newman at ColoState dot Edu) if you’d like to join the ongoing dialogue.

 

platforms

platform interoperability citizen science

2) Participant experience: finding projects, submitting and sharing individual points of data. We brainstormed ways to help researchers (biologists, in particular)  subscribe to fresh data alerts for their species and regions of interest from many (wildlife observation) citizen science platforms, and enable observers on those platforms to be notified if their observation was sent to someone. We also discussed the development of a simple, accurate representation of a project’s geographic area of interest which is important not only for validating the contributed data, but also for finding and recruiting potential participants who live or visit the area of interest and may be able to contribute. We’ve decided to continue these discussions and if you’d like to join us, email info@scistarter.com to indicate your interest. 

hackfest finding citizen science projects

 

3) Prototyping a data collection app.  S. Andrew Sheppard and Teal Wyckoff worked on Species Tracker, a concept for a mobile app for biodiversity monitoring, inspired by the WyoBio project.  They used the wq framework to create a simple prototype that allows anyone to upload photos and GPS coordinates together with species information.  The prototype and source code are available online at species.wq.io.

prototype citizen science

4) Updating Wikipedia definition of Citizen Science: Between 80-90% of Wikipedia editors are male, so Dr. Caren Cooper, particularly wanted to encourage women to participate. One concern raised at the hackfest was that there’s not much oversight on who can edit someone else’s contribution so it’s a frustrating experience when someone puts time and energy into a thoughtful definition only to have it wiped out and replaced by more self-serving definitions. Contact Caren Cooper at Caren.Cooper at naturalsciences dot org to get involved in this effort.

wikipedia citizen science

 

As these projects progress, we’ll post updates here.

Special thanks to @MarDixon for providing early guidance and support! She’s a pro at this…and she’s my sister!

And the winners of the #spacemicrobes Microbial Playoffs are…

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) February 11th, 2015 at 9:00 am | Comment 1

bacteria plate

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by David Coil a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis and a member of the Project MERCURRI team. 

We’ve finished analyzing all the data from the “Microbial Playoffs” part of Project MERCCURI(described here).   Each microbe that was chosen to fly to the International Space Station (list of candidate microbes here) was plated out 6 times on the plates that were analyzed in space.   We looked at three categories; Best Huddle, Best Tip-Off, and Best Sprint.    Here are the winners for each of the three categories:

 

Best Huddle (The microbe that grew to the highest density, really packing into their space)

 

best huddleYuri’s Night, Los Angeles: The microbe “Kocuria rhizophila” was collected on a camera at a Yuri’s Night Party with Buzz Aldrin in Los Angeles. Here are some photos of the team swabbing Buzz Aldrin’s shoe. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
San Antonio Spurs: The microbe “Kocuria kristinae” was collected on the court after a San Antonio Spurs game. Here are some photos of the team swabbing the court and a blog post about the experience. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
Davis, CA: The microbe “Leucobacter chironomi” was collected in a residential toilet in Davis, CA. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.

 

Best Tip-Off (The microbe that got off to the fastest growing start straight out of the freezer)

 

best tip offPop Warner Chittenango: The microbe “Bacillus pumilus” was collected on a Porta-Potty handle by Pop Warner Chittenango Bears cheerleaders. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.

Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia: Bacillus stratosphericus: found in a butterfly water dish at the Academy of Natural Sciences. Here is a photo of the kids that participated in the swabbing. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum: The microbe “Pantoea eucrina” was collected on the Mercury Orbitor at the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space. Here are some photos of the team swabbing at the Museum. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.

 

Best Sprint (The microbe that grew the fastest in any single 24-hour period in space)

 

best sprintParkway Middle School: The microbe “Bacillus horikoshii” was collected on a lobby banister at Parkway Middle School as part of a Broward County STEM teacher’s event. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.

Pop Warner Chittenango: The microbe “Bacillus pumilus” was collected on a Porta-Potty handle by Pop Warner Chittenango Bears cheerleaders. For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
Mars Exploration Rover (JPL): Paenibacillus elgii: On a Mars Exploration Rover before launch (2004) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL- NASA, Pasadena, CA) For an image of the microbe and more information, see the trading card at the Space Microbes web site.
Shown here are the top three microbes from each category, a full ranking of all the candidates will soon be published at www.spacemicrobes.org

Categories: Citizen Science

Capacity Crowd for Citizen Science 2015 Conference

By Darlene Cavalier February 10th, 2015 at 1:00 pm | Comment

citsciassoc image
SAN JOSE, CA – A global audience is gathering this week, intent on changing the way science is done. Over 600 people from 25 countries will convene February 11 and 12, 2015, at the San Jose Convention Center for “Citizen Science 2015,” the inaugural conference of the Citizen Science Association (CSA).

In citizen science, members of the public participate in real scientific research. To date, participants in this rapidly expanding field have made significant contributions to the study of neurobiology, astronomy, ornithology, genetics, psychology, linguistics, and many other disciplines. At the same time, public knowledge and insights have helped bridge research and action in arenas such as environmental justice, public health, conservation, and engineering.

Dr. Alan Leshner, CEO of AAAS, comments: “AAAS is pleased that the Citizen Science Association is hosting their first conference near the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Jose. Our meeting offers scientist-citizens many ways to engage with public audiences; the Citizen Science Association offers additional strategies for scientist-citizens and citizen-scientists to connect in meaningful ways.”

In brief, citizen science stands to transform scientific research. To ensure integrity as it does, Citizen Science 2015 brings together scientists, volunteers, data managers, educators, and many others to addresses the frontiers, innovations, and challenges that are common across the diverse disciplines using this research approach. Over 350 talks and posters will address, among other things, data management and visualization, STEM education, novel technologies, industry partnerships, and strategies for addressing issues of ethics and inclusivity in participation. Sessions include:

KEYNOTE: A Place in the World–Science, Society, and Reframing the Questions We Ask. (Dr. Chris Filardi – Director, Pacific Programs, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History)

KEYNOTE: EyeWire: Why Do Gamers Enjoy Mapping the Brain? (Amy Robinson – Executive Director, EyeWire)

WORKSHOP AND OPEN SESSION: Developing a Framework for Citizen Science in STEM Education (Citizen Science Association Education Working Group, supported by the National Science Foundation; Session Chair Sarah Kirn, Gulf of Maine Research Institute)

PANEL: Biomedical Citizen Science: Emerging Opportunities and Unique Challenges (National Institutes of Health Citizen Science Working Group; Session Chair Dr. Jennifer Couch, National Cancer Institute)

SYMPOSIUM: Using a Citizen Science Approach to Change the Face of Environmental Public Health Research (Session Chair: Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, University of Arizona)

PANEL: Creating a Welcoming, Inclusive, Diverse, and Just Citizen Science Association (Session Chair: Tim Vargo, Urban Ecology Center)

SYMPOSIUM: Supporting Multi-Scale Citizen Science: Leveraging the Local, Addressing the Global (Session Chair: Mark Chandler, Earthwatch Institute)

Additional conference activities include a poster session and reception, a hackfest, and a BioBlitz of downtown San Jose.

This event is an official pre-conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting. Conference supporters include the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, and others.

For more information: please visit http://www.citizenscienceassociation.org/conference/

Conference blog: http://citizenscienceassociation.org/category/conference/citsci2015/

Follow us on Twitter: @CitSciAssoc and #CitSci2015

Additional contacts from the CSA Board of Directors:

Rick Bonney, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, reb5@cornell.edu
Darlene Cavalier, Arizona State University, darlene@scistarter.com
Mary Ford, National Geographic, mford@ngs.org
Muki Haklay, University College London, m.haklay@ucl.ac.uk
Greg Newman, Colorado State University, Gregory.Newman@colostate.edu

Contact: Jennifer Shirk, CSA Communications Coordinator (additional contacts below)
Phone: 607-342-0995
E-mail: JLS223@cornell.edu

Categories: Events,hackfest

Propose or Join a Citizen Science Hackfest Project!

By Darlene Cavalier February 10th, 2015 at 11:20 am | Comment

Propose or join a project or activity for the SciStarter Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association Conference!

Be a part of SciStarter's hackfest at CitSci 2015 in San Jose, California!

Be a part of SciStarter’s hackfest at CitSci 2015 in San Jose, California!

What: A hands-on and discussion-driven meet-up where everyone participates in dreaming up AND building creative tools to improve the field of citizen science!

Where: Citizen Science 2015 Conference, San Jose, CA

Who: The SciStarter team and YOU!

Why: To capitalize on the collective wisdom (and desire to act!) at the Citizen Science Association Conference

The inaugural conference of the Citizen Science Association will take place February 11-12 in San Jose, California and the SciStarter team is looking forward to soaking up new information during the scheduled sessions and talks!

We’ll also contribute to these conversations through a few presentations and an interactive, “roll-up-your-sleeves!” hackfest designed for everyone.

Will you join us? Learn more about SciStarter’s past Hackfests here.

First, make sure you have registered for the Citizen Science 2015 Conference if you want to participate in person. You can join us remotely, too. Just let us know how you plan to participate when you sign up.

Then, fill out this form to let us know you’re coming so we know how many people to expect. Remember, ALL contributions are valuable, and some projects may be discussion-based (no programming skills required). All projects should spark the start of something great! Just bring your creativity, enthusiasm and talents and we’ll make sure you’ll have fun!

Do you have a Hackfest idea or project you’d like people to know about or join at the event? Great!

Use this form to propose a project for the Hackfest at the Citizen Science Association meeting, February 11, 2015, 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the San Jose Convention Center!

Here’s the running list of proposed projects! Just click on the image to learn more about the proposed project.

 

scistarter robot
1.  Agile Citizen Science
Join this group to participate in a brainstorm session to generate ideas and examples of possible agile citizen science projects and of the design features for a digital platform that would support those projects. Click to learn more.

scistarter robot
2. Locating Citizen Science Activity
Having a simple, accurate representation of a project’s geographic area of interest is important not only for validating the contributed data, but also for finding and recruiting potential participants who live or visit the area of interest and may be able to contribute. Click to learn more.

wikipedia icon
3. Update Wikipedia Entry for Citizen Science
You’ll learn how to add content to Wikipedia! Between 80-90% of Wikipedia editors are male, so I, Dr. Caren Cooper, particularly want to encourage women to participate. Click to learn more.

 

scistarter fresh data
4. Fresh Data/Notify Me!
We want to help biologists subscribe to fresh data alerts for their species and regions of interest from many (wildlife observation) citizen science platforms, and enable observers on those platforms to be notified if their observation was sent to someone. Click to learn more.

 

scistarter fresh data
5. Hackfest for the world’s biggest fish!
Produce a mobile- and tablet-friendly spot mapping tool to allow whale shark researchers to quickly map the spots on a whale shark in the browser of their favorite device and then submit that pattern to our existing grid computer. In short, we need some help with JavaScript to create a simple tool for shark researchers all over the world. Click to learn more.

 

citsci hackfest
6. Citizen Science Web Platform Needs Activity
Help those who develop citizen science web platforms / websites design and create better solutions for your needs. Come to this brainstorm session to offer your insights into what is needed to better support online data management for citizen science projects. Click to learn more.

 

Citizen Science for Your Genes and Proteins

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) February 9th, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Comment

dna

Photo: genome.gov

DNA, proteins, and chromosomes are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but there are plenty of citizen science projects that make the building blocks of life accessible to us all.

Here are some great projects that need your help to advance our understanding of what we’re made of and where we come from.

 

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