This is a guest post by Margaret Kosmala, a postdoc in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and co-founder of citizen science projects Season Spotter and Snapshot Serengeti. She blogs regularly at Ecology Bits.
Back in December, I wrote a post here on Dynamic Ecology about citizen science data quality. I was in the midst of drafting a paper about the same topic (that I hope will be published soon-ish in a publication near you), and it was nice to explore some less-quantitative ideas in blog format.
You may recall that I had a brief survey at the beginning. It asked about career stage, level of involvement in citizen science, and one’s opinion about the primary purpose of citizen science. With the caveat that Dynamic Ecology readers do not form a representative subset of anything (and the caveat that that particular post attracted a disproportionate number of people involved in citizen science), I’m going to tell you about the results. I tried to capture the couple dimensions that I thought might most matter in influencing people’s opinions of citizen science. So I think the survey is actually a reasonable representation of what ecologists – or at least web-savvy ecologists – think of citizen science.