While each of our projects involve a collaboration between many different people and institutions, the heart of the CSA’s work are our institutional members.
Although its roots go back further, the University of Nottingham was officially established relatively recently, in 1948. Since then it has grown dramatically, both in terms of size and in its reputation for teaching and research. Today it is counted in the UK’s top 10 and Europe’s top 30 universities, and in the top 1% worldwide. Scientific research is especially strong: in Physics and Chemistry the university is ranked second in the UK. Nottingham is particularly committed to being an international institution, with a large population of international students in the UK and on campuses in Malaysia and China.
The rise of direct, large-scale public participation in academic research is undoubtedly an important development, with its potential to both accelerate scientific progress and increase the scientific literacy of society. However, achieving these goals is not straightforward; one must maintain scientific standards and credibility, ensure the experience accumulated from each project is applied to new developments, and communicate effectively with both the public and academia. These are the admirable aims of the Citizen Science Alliance, which Nottingham is very pleased to support.
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London is the largest maritime museum in the world. Through its collections and historic buildings the NMM represents a unique conjunction of history, science and the arts, tracing the global movements and achievements of people and the origins and impact of Empire. The Museum incorporates the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian line.
For us, the citizen science approach is a sustainable way to produce relevant and engaging content across many disciplines, from astronomy to oceanography. It helps us build the community of amateur astronomers that we’ve established with our Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition. And it makes links between contemporary science and the Royal Observatory’s early role as a site of scientific research. In the background to Solar Stormwatch, you’ll find over a century of solar science at Greenwich.
Oxford was the first university in the English-speaking world, and has been a centre of scholarship for more than nine centuries. Its distinguished alumni include early scientific philosophers Roger Bacon and William of Ockham, and 17th century giants Robert Hooke and Edmund Halley. This long tradition leads to Oxford’s modern status as a world-leading university for both science and the humanities, and this expertise informs and inspire a wealth of CSA projects.
Here in Oxford was where it all began, with the Galaxy Zoo project cooked up by a few researchers in the University’s astrophysics group. They were all but overwhelmed on the day of the project’s launch, and in that moment it became clear that citizen science could play a major role in many different disciplines of academic research. For us, therefore, the CSA provides a way to be interdisciplinary, both within the University through collaboration between Physics and other departments, and with colleagues at other member institutions.
The Adler Planetarium - America’s First Planetarium - was founded in 1930 by Chicago business leader Max Adler. As part of its 75th anniversary, the museum announced a new vision to inspire the next generation of explorers and become the world’s premier space science center. With its unique resources of research faculty, collections holdings and long-standing public learning programs, the Adler is an international leader in science education, with a focus on inspiring young people, particularly women and minorities, to pursue careers in science.
The dedicated staff at the Adler Planetarium has long imagined a time when citizens working together through the internet could actively participate in the great adventure of space exploration, both in research and education. We always believed this approach to authentic astronomical inquiry would result in enthusiastic participation by the public, a non-traditional pathway to science education and first-class academic research. Our work with the CSA is an opportunity to engage vast, new-century audiences in this valuable and satisfying enterprise.
Founded in 1851, the University of Minnesota is a presence throughout the state with 67,000 students on five campuses and numerous research and outreach centers. Internationally the University touches every continent, partnering with countries such as China and India to collaborate in the areas of research, education, and business. The University of Minnesota is a world-class research university. One of a handful of universities with colleges of agriculture, medicine, and technology on the same campus, we thrive on bringing together talented researchers from different fields to create new technologies and make fundamental discoveries in the biological and physical sciences.
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is the oldest research university in the United States, founded in 1876 with a charge to advance human knowledge. JHU now receives more federal funding than any other university. JHU’s new cross-curricular institute, the Institute for Data-Intensive Engineering and Science (IDIES), works to build partnerships between researchers and departments at JHU who are attempting to find meaning in datasets that are so large they require entirely new methods of analysis. IDIES’s education programs focus on bringing these datasets to students and the general public.
Our team at JHU is thrilled to be a part of the Citizen Science Alliance. Citizen Science fits extremely well into our existing plans for both research and education, leading to real and exciting science, while offering the potential for volunteers to learn about how science works. Our team is studying why volunteers participate in Galaxy Zoo and other projects, and what they learn from their participation.
Vizzuality is a company that works on data analysis and visualization for stories that matter. Since its beginning, Vizzuality has worked with scientists and international organizations to help communicate and do science on the web. The company has a special interest in Global Environmental Change and how science can be used to help address the issues facing our planet. The company founders are also professors, teaching courses on Data Analysis and Visualization in Global Environmental Issues, and the company has developed and hosted events to promote collaboration between scientists, developers and designers with the belief that their work can help create a better planet.
Our team is thrilled to be part of the CSA. There are multiple fields where citizen science is not just a possible answer, but actually probably the only one, and this is particularly true in the field of Biodiversity. Without the participation of the general public we will not have enough information available to do good science that will produce better conservation policies and better information. Closing the gap between science and the general public for mutual benefit is not only a great idea, it is the only one that will rapidly unlock the data and information we desperately need.
Citizen Science Alliance projects involve collaborators from the following additional institutions:
- Aberystwyth University
- University of Alabama
- University of Arizona
- University of Barcelona
- University of California, Berkeley
- Florida State University
- University of Florida
- George Mason University
- NASA Lunar Science Institute
- New Space Foundation
- Open University
- Penn State University
- Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
- Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
- Centre for Theoretical Physics, PAS
- University of Portsmouth
- University College London
- Yale University