Using Contemporary Collective Action to Understand the Use of Computer-Mediated Communication in Virtual Citizen Science

  • Jason T. ReedEmail author
  • Arfon Smith
  • Michael Parish
  • Angelique Rickhoff
Part of the Lecture Notes in Social Networks book series (LNSN)


VirtualVirtual citizen science creates Internet-based projects that involve volunteers who collaborate with scientists in authentic scientific research. Forms of computer-mediated communication like websites, email, and forums are integral for all project activity and interaction between participants. However, the specific forms of computer-mediated communication vary because of the functionalities they must serve for a particular virtual citizen science project. After illustrating how computer-mediated communication is used by the Zooniverse, a collection of successful virtual citizen science projects, this chapter describes how virtual citizen science can be understood as a form of online collective action that takes place in the context of conducting scientific research. Using collective action theory allows for the creation of a collective action space that can be used to compare particular project features or entire projects based on a combination of the forms of interaction and project responsibilities available to volunteers.


Collective Action Citizen Science Discussion Thread Virtual Platform Citizen Science Project 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0917608. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason T. Reed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arfon Smith
    • 1
  • Michael Parish
    • 1
  • Angelique Rickhoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Adler PlanetariumChicagoUSA

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