The NIH Citizen Science Working Group, made up of several dozen NIH staff, investigates and shares best practices related to citizen science and crowdsourcing, and engages with other agencies and groups promoting citizen science in other fields. One of the primary purposes of the group is to explore how to incorporate citizen science into biomedical research while maintaining NIH’s high level of scientific and ethical standards.
The concept of Citizen Science is to take a collaborative approach to research that involves the public who are not only research subjects or advisors, but directly act as collaborators and partners. They are using similar concepts found in crowdsourcing they defined as:
1. voluntary involvement or contributions solicited from unknown individuals (aka “the crowd”), be they experts or not;
2. opening a line of scientific inquiry to a group of experts (typically achieved through prizes and challenges).
If you or someone you know would like to get involved, consider joining the newly established (2016) Citizen Science Association and get started today. jb