NPR’s Science Friday had a program on citizen science just last week: Doing Real World Science, but Skipping the Ph.D. They highlight some cool projects, including a couple I hadn’t heard about before. So I recommend listening online or reading the transcript if you didn’t catch it on the air.
One of the guests of the show was Alex Wright who recently wrote an article on citizen science for the New York Times: Managing Scientific Inquiry in a Laboratory the Size of the Web. Both Wright’s article and the Science Friday program brought up the issue of accuracy in citizen science and whether people who take part in these projects can really be called “scientists.” But in the article, one particular quote stuck out for me:
“These people are not doing the work of scientists,” said David Weinberger, a senior researcher at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard, who is writing a book about the changing shape of human knowledge in the online era. “They are doing the work of scientific instruments.” Continue reading Some thoughts on criticisms of citizen science