Online tools such as Wikipedia and YouTube have led the charge in the sharing of information, embodying the expression ‘by the people, for the people’, with billions of views a day globally. Over the last decade, the growth of smartphone and internet technology has popularised yet another tool that is breaking and redefining demographic, spatial and expertise boundaries: citizen science. If you have ready access to technology, you do not need to be an expert to ask questions and seek answers about phenomena that pique your curiosity and affect your communities.
Though it has ‘science’ in its name, citizen science is an approach used broadly across the academic disciplines and includes investigating topics in social sciences, humanities and the arts. With its modern origins in natural science, investigations of biodiversity, astronomy and environmental monitoring, citizen science has emerged as a promising approach to involve the general public in research with genuine outcomes.
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