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Citizen Science: A Developing Tool for Expanding Science Knowledge and Scientific Literacy

Rick Bonney, Caren B. Cooper, Janis Dickinson, Steve Kelling, Tina Phillips, Kenneth V. Rosenberg and Jennifer Shirk
BioScience
Vol. 59, No. 11 (December 2009), pp. 977-984
DOI: 10.1525/bio.2009.59.11.9
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/bio.2009.59.11.9
Page Count: 8
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Citizen Science: A Developing Tool for Expanding Science Knowledge and Scientific Literacy
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Abstract

Citizen science enlists the public in collecting large quantities of data across an array of habitats and locations over long spans of time. Citizen science projects have been remarkably successful in advancing scientific knowledge, and contributions from citizen scientists now provide a vast quantity of data about species occurrence and distribution around the world. Most citizen science projects also strive to help participants learn about the organisms they are observing and to experience the process by which scientific investigations are conducted. Developing and implementing public data-collection projects that yield both scientific and educational outcomes requires significant effort. This article describes the model for building and operating citizen science projects that has evolved at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology over the past two decades. We hope that our model will inform the fields of biodiversity monitoring, biological research, and science education while providing a window into the culture of citizen science.

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