World Wide Web

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 1147–1161 | Cite as

ICT Services for open and citizen science

  • Mikołaj MorzyEmail author
Open Access


Ideas of open access, open data and open science are transforming the world of scientific inquiry as we speak. Every day thousands of ordinary citizens are engaging in data collection and data processing, giving rise to the new field of citizen science. Never before has the technology enabled scientists to reach out to such vast numbers of collaborators and show their work to the public. From pattern recognition in Hubble space telescope images of distant galaxies to field observations of migration patterns of birds in the rural areas of United States, the possibilities are countless. Certainly this new trend poses important problems and challenges, but it is also obvious that wide acceptance of citizen science can lead not only to great scientific results, but to the popularization of scientific method among the public. In the paper we examine the current state of citizen science, we outline some of the most interesting and difficult challenges in leading scientific projects on such scale, and we present typologies of citizen science projects. We also provide a survey of ICT tools available for citizen science projects.


Open science Citizen science Web 2.0 


  1. 1.
    Bock, C.E.: The christmas bird count and avian ecology (1981)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bonney, R., Ballard, H., Jordan, R., McCallie, E., Phillips, T., Shirk, J., Wilderman, C.C.: Public participation in scientific research: defining the field and assessing its potential for informal science education. A caise inquiry group report. Online Submission (2009)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bonney, R., Cooper, C.B., Dickinson, J., Kelling, S., Phillips, T., Rosenberg, K.V., Shirk, J.: Citizen science: a developing tool for expanding science knowledge and scientific literacy. BioScience 59(11), 977–984 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brabham, D.C.: Crowdsourcing as a model for problem solving an introduction and cases. Convergence 14(1), 75–90 (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bystrak, D.: The north american breeding bird survey (1981)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cooper, C.B., Dickinson, J., Phillips, T., Bonney, R.: Citizen science as a tool for conservation in residential ecosystems. Ecol. Soc. 12(2), 11 (2007)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Downes, S.: Learning networks in practice (2007)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ellis, D., Oldridge, R., Vasconcelos, A.: Community and virtual community. Annu. Rev. Inf. Sci. Technol. 38(1), 145–186 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Evans, C., Abrams, E., Reitsma, R., Roux, K., Salmonsen, L., Marra, P.P.: The neighborhood nestwatch program: Participant outcomes of a citizen-science ecological research project. Conserv. Biol. 19(3), 589–594 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Howe, J.: The rise of crowdsourcing. Wired Mag. 14(6), 1–4 (2006)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Leydesdorff, L., Ward, J.: Science shops: a kaleidoscope of science–society collaborations in europe. Publ. Underst. Sci. 14(4), 353–372 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    McIntyre, A.: Participatory action research, vol. 52. Sage (2008)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    O’Reilly, T.: What is web 2.0 O’Reilly (2009)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ratcliff, J.: The transit of Venus enterprise in Victorian Britain, vol. 3. Pickering & Chatto Limited (2008)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Trumbull, D.J., Bonney, R., Bascom, D., Cabral, A.: Thinking scientifically during participation in a citizen-science project. Sci. Educ. 84(2), 265–275 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wachelder, J.: Democratizing science: various routes and visions of dutch science shops. Sci. Technol. & Hum. Values 28(2), 244–273 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Walter, M.: Participatory action research. Social Research Methods, 2nd edn. Walter, M. (ed.), vol 21. Oxford University Press, Australia (2009)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wiggins, A., Crowston, K.: From conservation to crowdsourcing: a typology of citizen science. In: 2011 44th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS). IEEE (2011)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Wilderman, C.C.: Models of community science: Design lessons from the field. In: Citizen Science Toolkit Conference. In: McEver, C., Bonney, R., Dickinson, J., Kelling, S., Rosenberg, K., Shirk, J.L. (eds.) Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Ithaca, NY (2007)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2014

Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Computing SciencePoznan University of TechnologyPoznanPoland

Personalised recommendations