Everyone counts? Design considerations in online citizen science

January 17th, 2019 | RESEARCH

Effective classification of large datasets is a ubiquitous challenge across multiple knowledge domains. One solution gaining in popularity is to perform distributed data analysis via online citizen science platforms, such as the Zooniverse. The resulting growth in project numbers is increasing the need to improve understanding of the volunteer experience; as the sustainability of citizen science is dependent on our ability to design for engagement and usability. Here, we examine volunteer interaction with 63 projects, representing the most comprehensive collection of online citizen science project data gathered to date. Together, this analysis demonstrates how subtle project design changes can influence many facets of volunteer interaction, including when and how much volunteers interact, and, importantly, who participates. Our findings highlight the tension between designing for social good and broad community engagement, versus optimizing for scientific and analytical efficiency.


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Team Members

Helen Spiers, Author, University of Oxford
Alexandra Swanson, Author, Zooniverse
Lucy Fortson, Author, University of Minnesota
Brooke Simmons, Author, Lancaster University
Laura Trouille, Author, Adler Planetarium
Samantha Blickhan, Author, Adler Planetarium
Chris Lintott, Author, University of Oxford


Identifier Type: issn
Identifier: 1824-2049
Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: https://doi.org/10.22323/2.18010204

Publication: Journal of Science Communication
Volume: 18
Number: 1

Related URLs

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Audience: General Public | Museum | ISE Professionals | Scientists
Discipline: Space science
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Citizen Science Programs | Media and Technology | Public Programs | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media