Citizen Science Project Leaders: Here’s How and Why To Become a SciStarter Affiliate

scistarter affiliate logoSince our founding in 2011, SciStarter has been dedicated to promoting citizen science with free, accessible tools for project leaders, researchers and the public. Adding a project to SciStarter is one of the easiest ways project leaders can boost participation and reach a wider audience.

When you list your project on you’re tapping into a network of hundreds of thousands of volunteers and millions of additional site visitors, as well as a dedicated team of citizen science experts who’ll help connect your work with eager participants at local, regional, national and global levels.

To get even more out of SciStarter, become a SciStarter Affiliate. This free program allows you to access expanded, equitable opportunities for promotion, recruitment, advanced analytics and opens up connections to a diverse network of community-based organizations and media partners.


Benefits for Affiliates

Affiliates are eligible for inclusion in SciStarter’s partner network that includes Discover magazine, the National Science Teachers Association, PBS, Verizon’s corporate volunteer program, library and museum initiatives, the Girl Scouts of USA’s Think Like a Citizen Science Journey, and more.

Volunteers that participate in Affiliate projects see their data contributions tracked in their SciStarter Dashboards. That lets them share evidence of participation with friends, family and their organizations, such as Girl Scouts, schools and universities, and others. Our free tools allow you to easily see how often people view, save, join and participate in your project relative to other projects listed on SciStarter. Many project leaders find this invaluable as they work to understand their volunteers’ interests.

SciStarter Affiliate Project Dashboard
SciStarter Affiliate Project Dashboard

It’s also something we consistently hear positive feedback on from our users, who tell us they love being able to keep track of all of their citizen science achievements in one place and earn rewards. For example, users are rewarded with badges and special certificates for their achievements. In fact, now through the end of the year, we’re offering participants a special Explorer Certificate for participating in three Affiliate projects.

Awards and achievement milestones played a big role in driving participation for Stall Catchers, a citizen science project that lets participants move Alzheimer’s research forward, says Pietro Michelucci, a Cornell University researcher and Stall Catchers project leader.

“We found [the awards] especially useful during the Stall Catchers Megathon on Citizen Science Day — participants were rewarded for their contributions with a certificate from SciStarter,” Michelucci says.

The SciStarter Explorer Certificate.
The SciStarter Explorer Certificate.


As an Affiliate, your project will be featured on participants’ Dashboards through a recommendation engine that prioritizes Affiliates. You’ll also have access to enhanced analytics through the SciStarter API (short for Application Programming Interface), a free website integration. Find data on participant demographics and data contributions, as well as what other projects they’re interested in. Project leaders rely on these insights to reach more users and increase participation rates. You can find these statistics by going to your project page and clicking on “Stats” in the top right corner.

Cait Bailey, the co-creator and systems developer of citizen science project Anecdata, a platform for collecting, managing and sharing citizen science data, began using the SciStarter API in January, 2019. “Not only is [the API] useful for our participants who use SciStarter and want to see their participation stats, it’s also useful for project managers who run projects through Anecdata and want to assess their volunteers’ contributions and understand what other projects their volunteers are engaged in,” she says.

scistarter affiliate dashboard
The Dashboard of Stall Catchers, a SciStarter Affiliate project.

You’ll also get new tools to reach volunteers, like the People Finder that targets searches for users based on location, what tools they own or what skills they have. 

Finally, SciStarter Affiliates are eligible to be included in Lists, an exciting new feature on the website. Now, users can create and curate their own lists of projects and share them with others. If you’re an Affiliate, you’ll be able to see how often your project is added to Lists, offering you another key metric to track project reach and engagement.

How to Become an Affiliate

If your project isn’t on SciStarter yet, get started by adding your project to SciStarter. We’ll need some basic information from you about your project, and how people can get involved. Our editorial team will review your submission and get in contact with you if we have any questions before publishing your project.

From there, you can simply reach out to us about becoming an Affiliate at, and our team will guide you through the process of connecting with the API. We’ll typically have Affiliates sign an MOU agree to agree to keep a project active for a set amount of time, as well as provide us with two short smartphone-recorded videos introducing volunteers to the project and thanking them for their participation. We also ask that you share a few images we can use when promoting your project.

Then, you’ll need to ask your developer to connect the SciStarter API to your website or app to enable participants who come to your project from SciStarter to track their participation and get credit for their work. You can find technical details on that process on the SciStarter API page. Our development team is also here to help (at no charge).

Through the API, projects share with SciStarter the date, time, project ID, type and duration of each SciStarter members’ participation. SciStarter users are informed of the option to have their participation shared or not shared between Affiliate projects and SciStarter, part of our commitment to security and transparency. If you have any questions after reviewing the API documentation, just reach out and we’ll be happy to answer them!

Alternatively, if you add your project to a citizen science platform SciStarter is affiliated with, like Anecdata or, you’ll automatically become an Affiliate. These platforms are integrated as Affiliates, so your project will already be set up to allow your volunteers to get credit for their contributions on SciStarter. If your project is on Zooniverse or iNaturalist, simply contact us at and we’ll walk you through the simple process of connecting to SciStarter as an Affiliate (SciStarter users are also invited to add their Zooniverse or iNaturalist username to their SciStarter Profile to ensure transparency via this “opt in” step).

Contact to get started!

Categories: Affiliate Tools


About the Author

SciStarter Team

SciStarter Team

SciStarter connects you to thousands of searchable citizen science projects in need of your help. Use the Project Finder ( to find a project to match your location, interests, and age level. Your free SciStarter account will help you earn credit for participating in projects across apps and websites (use the advanced search option at to find Affiliate projects eligible for credit in your dashboard). Together, we can move the world forward!