The evolution of citizen science

Posted by er134 at Nov 05, 2013 10:58 AM |
New research project investigates public participation in science in the 19th and 21st centuries

Did you know that back when Charles Darwin was working on his theory of evolution, journal submissions from laypeople in the 19th century actually contributed to his research?

A huge variety of observations of plants and animals by non-professionals proved extremely useful to Darwin and naturally, the periodicals of the Victorian era had to find ways of collating and managing large numbers of these submissions from different sources.

Today, public involvement in science is booming thanks to online platforms such as Zooniverse, which has over 800,000 participants who contribute to projects from astrophysics to climate science.

A new research project, co-directed by Dr Gowan Dawson (pictured) from our School of English and Victorian Studies Centre will explore how methods developed in the 19th century could help shape modern structures for how volunteers can engage with professional science.