Crowd sourcing data: An alternative to mindless games

Bored over the holidays?  Want to do something mindless that gives you a small sense of accomplishment without leaving your electronic device?  What if it also helps SCIENCE?

Zooniverse is a citizen science project– basically (if I’m understanding correctly) there’s this software that researchers can get from github that they can use to crowd-source data entry.  To be on the zooniverse page, they have some kind of competition for Science and the best projects get to go up.  People work on small bite-sized chunks of project in their spare time, essentially for free.  You can classify pictures of universes or tell them when a picture has an animal in it and what kind of animal and read histories of ancient peoples.  There’s projects to study climate change and history and wildlife.  Difficulty ranges from things a three year old can do (ex. identifying animals on the Serengeti) to reading handwriting or transcribing ancient Greek.  There’s even sounds to categorize.

Anyhow, if you need to get addicted to something on the internet, we suggest trying this out.  It might be fun!

Disclaimer:  Zooiverse doesn’t know we exist.  One of us did meet a nice gentleman who is affiliated with one of the projects though.

Have you participated in crowd-sourcing for science before?  Are there other sites you would recommend?

7 Responses to “Crowd sourcing data: An alternative to mindless games”

  1. becca Says:

    I am still waiting for my Auroasaurus app to beep me (you track the Northern lights, for science!…. I am actually probably too far south, but I’m hoping one of these days…).
    Fold-it was the first of crowd science in your spare time kind of thing I heard about, I have a friend that did that one for a while.

    Not-science, but mashing up this post with your last, NPR had a neat story on micro-volunteering (, which I may get around to setting up so I can give it to my kid while waiting in line.

  2. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Also not science, but there is a digitizing old books project I used to work on when I had free time. Maybe it was this, which is part of Project Gutenberg? It was a long time ago.

  3. Bardiac Says:

    The Folger Library is also doing one for early modern manuscript transmission:

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    All great ideas! We love these.

  5. accm Says:

    Find gravitational waves and/or neutron stars: (disclosure: it helps out my science…) Though it may not be as hands-on as you’d like.

  6. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Thanks everybody for all the great additional recommendations!

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