Citizen Science Is Making Leaps and Bounds in Australia
The Citizen Science Network Australia (CSNA) has recently been developed to bring together researchers, educators, businesses, science communicators, government officials, community groups, and volunteers to connect and support the growth of citizen science in Australia. Dr. Chris Gillies, Earthwatch Australia's director of science, says that this is the most recent phase of a long tradition.
Scientists gather at the first Citizen Science Network Australia conference.
In an interview about the Citizen Science Network Australia, Dr. Chris Gillies, Earthwatch Australia's director of science pointed out that "citizen science is not new; it was the science worked right up to about 1900, when science became a formal profession. Before that, science was really in the realm of amateurs."
The formation of this organization fits into a movement happening around the world. Many scientists now encourage the public to join in scientific data collection, which has been invigorated by technological developments, like cellphone apps, that give people an easy connection with the scientific community. These citizens can become scientists by joining field research projects like those Earthwatch offers, or even from the comfort of their own homes with tools like weather@home, which allows people to run models that simulate their regional climate on their home computer, capturing local changes and extreme weather events that global climate models can't measure.
The CSNA, which held its inaugural event in May, 2014, endeavors to combine the efforts of all those in Australia involved in this scientific movement. The formation of the CSNA marks the beginning of discussions about how to strengthen citizen science across Australia.
Learn more from Dr. Chris Gillies on Australia Broadcast Network's Science Show or by reading about the Citizen Science Network Australia.