Focusing attention to improve the performance of citizen science systems: Beautiful images and perceptive observers

This recently started SOCS project (NSF 12-11071) examines strategies for dealing with the flood of digital data that confronts researchers. New techniques, tools and strategies for dealing with massive data sets, whether they consist of vast numbers of base-pair sequences or terabytes of data from all-sky astronomical surveys, present an opportunity to establish a 'fourth paradigm' of scientific discovery, but the task is not easy. In many areas of research, the relentless growth of data sets has led to the adoption of increasingly automated and unsupervised methods of classification.

SoCS: Socially intelligent computing to support citizen science

The SOCS project (NSF grant 09-68470) investigates the capabilities and potential of social computational systems (SoCS) in the context of citizen science. Citizen science projects are a form of social-computational system. Whether it be volunteers playing a role in massive, distributed sensing networks exploring the migration of birds, or applying their unique human perceptual skills to searching the skies, human motivation and performance is fundamental to system performance. However, undertaking science through a social computational system brings unique challenges.

Theory and Design of Virtual Organizations for Citizen Science

This completed project was a two-phase theory-based study of virtual organizations that enable massive virtual collaboration in scientific research. The virtual organizations studied have a core of scientists and project leaders coordinating the work of a larger number of volunteer contributors, a format called citizen science. The project was directed at advancing the understanding of what constitutes effective citizen science virtual organizations and under what conditions citizen science virtual organizations can enable and enhance scientific and education production and innovation.

REU Research Intern Positions Available Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

Title: Research Assistant (2 positions to be filled)

Employment Period: September 2013 – May, 2014, with the possibility of continuing employment in the 2014-2015 academic year

Compensation: $8,000 stipend paid over the academic year

Description: A research assistant is needed for a National Science Foundation funded (NSF-funded) research project on the learning and motivation among volunteers in citizen science. Applicants must be US or resident alien undergraduate students with an interest in open online communities (e.g., Wikipedia or Open Software Development), or the learning and information sciences.

ICPSR challenge grant for research data management

Jian Qin and I were awarded one of four one-year challenge grants from ICPSR's Sloan-funded project on "Building Community Engagement in Data Citation and Open Access to Data," to support innovative research on topics related to the management and stewardship of research data (see the press release here). Our project is "Development and Dissemination of a Capability Maturity Model for Research Data Management Training and Performance Assessment".

Planet Hunters and Seafloor Explorers: Legitimate Peripheral Participation Through Practice Proxies in Online Citizen Science

Exploring data quality in games with a purpose

Learning at the Seafloor, Looking at the Sky: The Relationship Between Individual Tasks and Collaborative Engagement in Two Citizen Science Projects

Forgotten island: A story-driven citizen science adventure

Prestopnik, N., & Souid D. (2013).  Forgotten island: A story-driven citizen science adventure. CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. 2643–2646.

The future of citizen science: emerging technologies and shifting paradigms

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