Top 13 Citizen Science Projects of 2013

2013 was another big year for citizen science. Each year at SciStarter, we analyze our glorious website metrics to identify the most popular projects of the year. Below, I’ve listed the year’s 13 most visited projects in our Project Finder, a growing collection of more than 600 new and existing citizen science opportunities.

Happy New Year, and keep experimenting!

eyewire EyeWire: Map the Retinal Connectome
Scientists need your help mapping the neural connections of the retina, and all they’re asking is for participants to play a fun game of coloring brain images. EyeWire is a great way to learn about the brain and help scientist understand how the nervous system works.


cicada Cicada Tracker
WNYC Radio invited families, armchair scientists, and lovers of nature to help track the cicadas that emerge once every 17 years across New Jersey, New York and the whole Northeast by building homemade sensors and reporting your observations. Participants helped predict the arrival by planting a homemade temperature sensor in the ground and reporting findings back to to WNYC. Observations were put on a map and shared with the entire community.

digitalfishersDigital Fishers
Do you love the ocean but not the sunburns, parking, or other unpleasant aspects that come with the territory? Here’s a project that puts you in touch with the ocean and saves you the extra costs in suntan lotion. Anyone can assist by watching 15-second videos from the comfort of a home computer and clicking on simple responses.

merccuriProject MERCCURI
Project MERCCURI is an investigation of how microbes found in buildings on Earth (in public buildings, stadiums, etc) compare to those on board the biggest building ever built in space – the International Space Station (ISS). Participants collected microbes from stadiums, cell phones and shoes, and those samples were mailed to the University of California Davis to be sequenced and analyzed. Results will be shared on SciStarter so you can compare your samples to those from other locations, including the ISS!

Panamath is a free-standing software that can be used to assess number sense – your intuitive recognition of numbers and their relationship. Test your own number sense, or download this software and adapt it for your own research or educational purposes.


dark-sky-meterDark Sky Meter
The Dark Sky Meter (available for iPhones) allows citizen scientists to contribute to a global map of nighttime light pollution. Light pollution is a growing problem in urban environments, but now you can help scientists better understand its effects on the environment. By utilizing the camera built in to your iPhone, the Dark Sky Meter actually measures ‘skyglow’ and updates the data in real time.

laughterThe Laughter Project
The Royal Society put together a playlist of different laughs and asked people to determine if those laughs were real and fake. The results, which will be posted on the project blog soon, will help researchers at the University College of London learn how people react to different sounds. THIS science will make you LOL!

dogPlay with Your Dog
Help researchers better understand relationship between dogs and owners! The Horowitz Dog Cognition Lab in NYC is investigating the different ways people and dogs play together, and they need your help by submitting short videos of you playing with your dog. By participating in Project: Play with Your Dog, citizen scientists are providing valuable information into the nuances and intricacies of our relationships with dogs.

citizensortCitizen Sort
Citizen Sort is a collection of interactive games in which players sort and classify photos of unidentified animals. The project is the brain child of researchers at Syracuse University School of Information. The goal is to enable scientists to use pictures of wildlife from the web to help them study changes in species populations, the health of an ecosystem or the effects of urbanization.

pitchPerfect Pitch Test
Do you think you have absolute pitch? It so, try out the project Perfect Pitch. This project, conducted through the University of Toronto, examines if the timbre or source of a sound affects how accurately we identify that pitch.


iseechangeiSeeChange: The Almanac
The iSeeChange Almanac is a socially networked weather Almanac for communities to collectively journal their climate experiences — their observations, feelings, questions, and decisions — against near-real time climate information.


hummingbirdHummingbirds @ Home
The Audubon Society needs citizen scientists to track, report on, and follow the spring hummingbird migration in real time. A free mobile app makes it easy to report sightings, share photos and learn more about these remarkable birds.


EteRNA is a revolutionary new game scored by nature. You design RNA molecules, and we synthesize top designs and score them based on experimental results!

Categories: Citizen Science