Citizen Science Month 2023: Preliminary Outcomes

This work was supported by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services under Cooperative Agreement Number U24LM014070 with the University of Pittsburgh, Health Sciences Library System and the University of Iowa, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.

Citizen science is a global movement that involves people from all walks of life in real science that matters to them. Each April and beyond, scientists, facilitators, citizen science project leaders and many others host events and programs to invite more people to discover all the ways they can participate in citizen science.

With the help of SciStarter, Arizona State University and partners from around the world — and thanks to support from the Network of the National Library of Medicine and the All of Us Research Program — each April, Citizen Science Month engages people in research that needs their help.

Another successful Citizen Science Month is in the books, and with April over, we can begin tallying up all the contributions from citizen scientists during the month. 

By the numbers

SciStarter reached hundreds of thousands of people during April — connecting with over 250,000 people through our website and emails. And on social media alone, social media posts about Citizen Science Month were shared with over 1.1 million people.

There were 103 events added to SciStarter, resulting in more than 300,000 data contributions SciStarter Affiliate projects!

Survey results

The preliminary results from evaluation surveys for these events (from Arizona State University’s Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness) indicate that these events made an impact. 

98.1% of respondents rated the event they attended as “good,” “very good,” or “excellent.”

When asked “How much did the Citizen Science Month event help you understand how participating in citizen science enhances scientific discovery?,” 96.9% of respondents answered “Somewhat,” “Quite a bit” or “A great deal.”

When asked “Overall, how much did the Citizen Science Month event increase your motivation to participate in citizen science in the future?,” 99.0% of respondents answered “Somewhat,” “Quite a bit” or “A great deal.”

Featured projects

While it’s impossible to calculate the true value of all that work, we’d like to share some results from two projects that help demonstrate the collective impact of participants’ efforts in April. 

During the week-long Stall Catchers Citizen Science Month event, participants annotated online videos of more than 81,000 blood vessels. Those annotations show where blood flow is stalled in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, crucial information for researchers studying how the condition progresses. Citizen scientists who participated in the event did as much data analysis in one week as it would have taken professional scientists to do in two months, 20 days and 7.5 hours in the lab! 

In Notes from Nature’s WeDigBio event, online volunteers took on a very different challenge: transcribing labels from specimens in museum collections. Volunteers made 11,300 classifications of museum specimens collected all over the world. That included 4,800 beetles alone! That data will help scientists study species today, including how global changes are affecting them.

Event recordings

Couldn’t make an interesting Citizen Science Month event live? Find recordings from many of our featured events on SciStarter’s YouTube Channel.

In April, Science Friday co-hosted a series of webinars with SciStarter for educators, libraries around the United States joined a webinar to learn about pollinator-focused citizen science for their communities, international partners in Australia and New Zealand joined to discuss their projects, the Outbreaks Near Me team shared how you can help prevent the next outbreak and so much more.

Thanks to support from the Network of the National Library of Medicine, many events featured the All of Us Research Program, a key Citizen Science Month partner. All of Us is inviting one million people across the U.S. to help build one of the most diverse health databases in history by filling out surveys and sharing samples. Learn more and join All of Us today.

All of Us events included Celebrando Latines en CienciaCross-generational Perspectives on Medical Research with All of Us California and SciStarterSciStarter LIVE’s One in a Million: How to Join All of Us to Improve Health for EveryoneThe Future of Health Research with All of Us Wisconsin and SciStarter (which we promoted on the radio, too!), El Día del Idioma con SciStarter, Globe Observer: CLOUDS y the All of Us Research Program, and Celebrate National DNA Day with All of Us California and the Sacramento Public Library.

Many of these event recordings are evergreen, so we invite you to share them with your own community!

Citizen science, year-round

The fun doesn’t have to stop in April. We invite you to participate in citizen science projects and share citizen science with your communities, 365 days a year. You can start with one of our featured projects, and then explore further via our project finder. We invite you to add to and search our events database year-round, too.

And…it’s never too early to start preparing for next April. Stay in the loop with our mailing list, and if you’re with a library or community-based organization, we hope you sign up for the library network.

Thank you for turning your curiosity into impact with citizen science!

Categories: Citizen Science Month, Featured Projects, NNLM

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About the Author

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson

Caroline Nickerson is an advisor at SciStarter, where she assists with the Citizen Science Month Program, SciStarter’s Corporate Volunteer Programs and other programmatic and outreach efforts. Caroline is a Master of Public Policy graduate from American University, where she was a Reilly Environmental Policy Scholar, and is a current PhD student at the University of Florida. She also works with the UF-VA Bioethics Unit, the Christensen Project, Florida Community Innovation and other organizations. She was the 2019 Cherry Blossom Princess representing the state of Florida and the grand prize scholarship winner at Miss Earth USA 2021 as Miss Louisiana Earth.