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Community Science

Connecting people with science projects in their community.

Sea turtle volunteers spotting turtles

Credit: Cassandra Davis

Community science (formerly known as citizen science) is the term used to describe scientific research conducted by individuals participating on a volunteer basis, outside of their own professional scope.

Community science projects are generally structured by scientists, with public participation and engagement through any combination of data collection, analysis, discussion, or collaboration. The practice of amateur-led or self-funded scientific research has a rich and varied history, with most science before the late nineteenth century being conducted by non-scientists. Modern community science programs help scientists to overcome a variety of obstacles in gathering and processing data. Opportunities for crowdsourced scientific participation are expanding with technology advances, especially the increased availability of internet connectivity and high-quality portable cameras. As technology continues to advance, so do opportunities to improve awareness and scientific literacy, setting the stage for a bright future for community science and public engagement.