SciStarter and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at Arizona State University, with support from the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), are engaging the public to help speed up research on human and environmental health.
(Tempe, Arizona) — March 3, 2021 — Citizen Science Month, observed annually in April, is a celebration of all things citizen science. Citizen science engages people from all walks of life in real research anytime, anywhere, on topics from astronomy to zoology. Libraries are quickly becoming community hubs for citizen science and play a unique role in helping people learn about science and technology while fostering community involvement in research.
This year, libraries across the nation will again host special events and promotions that link citizen science to existing programs. Citizen Science Month events in April 2021 will have a special focus on environmental and human health projects.
Building on a new, national program to circulate citizen science kits through libraries and ongoing programming efforts related to citizen science in libraries, participation in Citizen Science Month supports the mission of libraries to strengthen communities and transform lives through education and lifelong learning. Last year, in Citizen Science Month 2020, more than 100 virtual events took place in library communities and participants reported in evaluation surveys feeling more motivated to engage in citizen science and most agreed that the events helped them feel more connected to others.
The NNLM MidContinental Region describes citizen science programming on its website: “Citizen science is a scientific project that involves the public partnering with professionals in different aspects of research – from planning, to data collection, to analysis, to dissemination, and everything else in between. The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) supports Arizona State University and SciStarter’s work in citizen involvement in scientific research because it’s a great way to break down some of the barriers between researchers and the public and it also helps foster better understanding of data in this increasingly data driven world.”
“The power of citizen science is the massive impact that is made by everyday people, individually and collectively,” said Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter and a Professor of Practice at SFIS at Arizona State University. “Online and virtual events during Citizen Science Month will help introduce thousands of people to citizen science and help them find ways to act upon issues they are curious or concerned about, individually or as a community.”
SciStarter, NNLM, and the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program have collaborated with libraries and community-based organizations on Citizen Science Day in 2019, Citizen Science Month in 2020, the Summer Reading Meets Citizen Science program in 2020 and additional events and efforts leading up to and through Citizen Science Month 2021. This work introduces communities across the United States to All of Us and other featured citizen science efforts focused on health and environmental research, leveraging strategic partnerships with trusted community leaders like public libraries and local community-based organizations. All of Us is featured prominently in keynote events, where speakers connect citizen science projects to All of Us engagement priority areas and explain how members of the public can get involved in All of Us by signing up via https://joinallofus.org/nlm.
Getting Started with Citizen Science:
Find all the necessary tools and resources to participate at CitizenScienceMonth.org.
- Read the Citizen Science Month Welcome Letter.
- Learn what it means to be a citizen scientist through the Introduction to Citizen Science tutorial available in English or Spanish at the top of the SciStarter.org/NLM page.
- Sign up to be part of the Citizen Science Network, and receive updates on the latest resources.
- Attend weekly Thursday morning office hours at 8am and 11am (ET) for ideas and support to create your own citizen science activities.
- Spread the word about the All of Us Research Program in outreach efforts with the https://joinallofus.org/nlm link.
- Download customizable fliers, bookmarks, signage, graphics, images, social media toolkits and more at CitizenScienceMonth.org/Resources.
- Review the Library and Community Guide to Citizen Science for programming ideas and a planning guide, as well as learning about and using SciStarter.org.
- Explore specially curated health related citizen science projects and webinar recordings with project scientists at SciStarter.org/NLM.
- Bring citizen science kits at SciStarter.org/library and SciStarter.org/library-resources to your community, and then provide the tools and directions to contribute to scientific research.
- Apply for the free Test the Waters kit
- Sign up for extra help from SciStarter (assisting with a virtual platform, co-hosting or otherwise facilitating the event) to provide a Citizen Science Month virtual event.
About Citizen Science Month Partners
SciStarter.org is the place to find, join, and contribute to science by providing people access to more than 3,000 searchable formal and informal citizen science research projects, events, and tools. The SciStarter website also offers a dashboard or coordinated place for members to track and earn credit for contributions across citizen science projects and platforms. More than 100,000 global citizen scientists are registered members of the SciStarter community. The SciStarter team includes educators, faculty, librarians, programmers, instructional designers, communicators, and scientists, all focused on improving the citizen science experience for everyone.
Arizona State University School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) is a transdisciplinary unit at the vanguard of ASU’s commitment to linking innovation to public value. SFIS pursues a vision of responsible innovation that anticipates challenges and opportunities, integrates diverse knowledge and perspectives, and engages broad audiences. By examining the ways we translate imagination into innovation — and how we blend technical and social concerns along the way — SFIS aims to build a future for everyone.
The All of Us Research Program is supported and overseen by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and aims to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us. To do that, the program is asking one million or more people to share health information to build one of the most diverse health databases in history and help researchers learn how lifestyle, biology, and environment affect health. SciStarter and the All of Us Research Program partnered to host citizen science Summer Reading events in Summer 2020.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) support the All of Us Research Program by providing innovative and engaging activities to public libraries and community organizations. NLM and NNLM aim to improve the public’s access to health information and provide awareness about the All of Us Research Program to communities that are underrepresented in biomedical research by partnering with libraries across the United States.