Cover image for Citizen science : how ordinary people are changing the face of discovery / Caren Cooper.
Citizen science : how ordinary people are changing the face of discovery / Caren Cooper.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Overlook Press, 2016.

Physical Description:
294 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 24 cm
Cites the essential contributions of millions of ordinary people who contribute to the scientific process by volunteering in cooperation with scientists to help collect and discover information, tracing the history of citizen scientists and how they are reshaping scientific awareness.


Library Branch
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
1 Bob Harkins Branch 500 COO Book Adult General Collection

On Order



Think you need a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries? Think again. All around the world, in fields ranging from astronomy to zoology, millions of everyday people are choosing to participate in the scientific process. Working in cooperation with scientists in pursuit of information, innovation, and discovery, these volunteers are following protocols, collecting and reviewing data, and sharing their observations. They are our neighbors, our in-laws, and people in the office down the hall. Their story, along with the story of the social good that can result from citizen science, has largely been untold, until now.Citizen scientists are challenging old notions about who can conduct research, where knowledge can be acquired, and even how solutions to some of our biggest societal problems might emerge. In telling their story, Cooper will inspire readers to rethink their own assumptions about the role that individuals can play in gaining scientific understanding and putting that understanding to use as stewards of our world. Citizen Science will be a rallying call-to-arms, and will also function as an authoritative resource for those inspired by the featured stories and message.

Author Notes

Caren Cooper is the assistant director of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, where she studies bird ecology and conservation through the use of citizen science.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Enlarging on ideas shared in the upcoming documentary The Crowd & the Cloud, Cooper (assistant director, Biodiversity Research Lab, North Carolina Museum of Natural Science) here explains both the past and present of the citizen science movement, in which ordinary people take part in scientific discovery and observation. She examines the wide range of individuals who join citizen science projects (hobbyists, retirees, teachers, students, gamers, activists) and the various disciplines (ornithology, microbiology, meteorology, biodiversity, astronomy) in which they participate. Historical examples of people communicating by letter to measure tides across England, compared to modern-day approaches to stop poachers in the Congo via GPS devices, show how individuals are contributing to published studies, educating themselves, and changing their communities. This engaging exploration of citizen science makes the case not only for the success of past projects but also for how such groups and partnerships are the hope for facing future challenges such as environmental change and disease. Verdict Speaking to educators at all levels, curious individuals hoping to get more involved, and groups planning community programming, this work is an excellent recommendation for both public and academic libraries.-Catherine Lantz, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Marking the Tidep. 3
Part 1 Hobbies of Discoveryp. 13
1 Meteorology: NOAA and the Floodp. 15
2 Ornithology: Bird Is a Verbp. 33
3 Entomology: Of Monarchs and Menp. 51
4 Astronomy: The Pull of the Planetsp. 79
Part 2 The Necessity of Leisurep. 107
5 Biochemistry: Protein Folding Is Magicp. 109
6 Microbiology: Invisible Worlds Go Publicp. 131
7 Conservation Biology: Taking Stockp. 155
Part 3 A World Where Everybody Countsp. 179
8 Marine Biology: Turtles and Nurdlesp. 181
9 Geography: White Picket Fencelinesp. 205
10 Public Health: Patients, No Patiencep. 233
Conclusion: Setting Sailp. 261
Interviews/Sourcesp. 273
Call to Actionp. 277
Acknowledgmentsp. 279
Indexp. 283

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