SciStarter is more than just a place to find projects and events that need your help — it’s also a hub for Project Leaders and Facilitators to gain insights into their volunteers and projects, learn new skills and engage with the community.
The SciStarter website has a number of tools and resources for Project Leaders and Facilitators like librarians and educators to expand their reach and make the most of the dedicated community of citizen scientists. All of our tools and resources are free, thanks to support from the National Science Foundation, and the National Library of Medicine, and the Institute for Museum of Library and Services, among others.
Whether you’re new to SciStarter, or you’ve been with us awhile, there’s always something to discover as we add and update resources. Read on for tips how to take your citizen science project or event to the next level or how to bring projects and resources to your community
Resources for Project Leaders
SciStarter has digital tools for Project Leaders to accelerate research ranging from custom dashboards with information on project participation to resources for finding and reaching new volunteers. If you’re a Project Leader, find the tools by logging and clicking on your project, then looking in the upper right-hand corner to find tabs with different tools.
Do you manage a citizen science project that’s not on SciStarter? Adding projects is quick and easy. Just go to our Add Project page and fill out the simple forms there to get started! After that, you can also become an Affiliate (it’s free!) to access extra capabilities and promotion through SciStarter. If your project or organization has upcoming events, add them on our Add Event page to reach the tens of thousands of people who visit SciStarter.com each month.
SciStarter’s Project Finder is an easy way for people to find new projects, but it’s also helpful for Project Leaders. You can find projects similar to yours, or just explore the universe of citizen science projects for ideas and inspiration. The Project Finder is part of what sets SciStarter apart from search engines like Google: With the Project Finder you can see info on what a project is, what the data is used for and how to join, all in one place.
Project Leaders also have access to special Dashboards that give you analytics on how many people are participating in their project, the number and frequency of data contributions and more. If you’re an Affiliate, you can add the SciStarter API to your project website for even better data tracking. With the API, you can log contributions through your website to SciStarter, putting all the data in one place on your Dashboard. Using the API also unlocks the ability for project contributors to earn badges for their participation in your project.
“This is what makes SciStarter more than just a clearinghouse of projects,” SciStarter founder Darlene Cavalier says.
Project Leaders can also use the SciStarter People Finder to discover interested volunteers for their projects in the SciStarter network. The tool lets you see citizen scientists who have indicated they’re already interested in your project’s topic, and even allows you to reach out to them. You might be surprised at how many citizen scientists you find!
“When I first started doing projects, I thought I was the only citizen scientist in my area,” says Trevor Bartone, SciStarter’s Content and Program Coordinator. “But I tried out the People Finder and I was pleasantly shocked to find over 250 citizen scientists within an hour of my remote area.”
SciStarter is also used not only by scientists with citizen science projects, but those studying and working to improve the field of citizen science. Data about citizen science participation and impacts from our platform has been used in recent papers looking at social connections among citizen scientists and examining ways to better recommend projects to volunteers. And our data is informing policy recommendations for future citizen science work, better training for volunteers and more.
Resources for Facilitators
Facilitators are anyone who’s helping to get others involved in citizen science. Facilitators are teachers, librarians, Girl Scout troop leaders and more. SciStarter has a lot of resources for Facilitators, including special trainings and materials to help boost engagement.
The SciStarter Training page is a great place to start for anyone interested in promoting citizen science. There are Foundational trainings for budding citizen scientists, and more advanced modules specifically for librarians and teachers, with custom badges for each. Librarians can even receive professional development credits from the Medical Library Association for completing the “Libraries as Community Hubs for Citizen Science” module.
For educators, the SciStarter Education page is a hub for discovering projects for different age groups, from pre-K to college-age, as well as introductory videos and materials. You can also find discussion and reflection questions, and links to more resources to find new projects and deepen engagement.
For librarians, get started on SciStarter’s libraries page, where you’ll find resources, an overview of our libraries program, promotional resources and information about our Library Kits. The kits are associated with specific projects, like iNaturalist or Globe at Night, and contain everything a volunteer needs to start gathering data. Community members can check the kits out from participating libraries.
SciStarter is always adding new tools and resources for Project Leaders, Facilitators and citizen scientists. Follow us on social media, and sign up for the SciStarter newsletter to stay up to date on everything we have to offer!