Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Toolkit
Citizen science and crowdsourcing can help you engage the public in your work and collect data that might otherwise be beyond your reach. The practices can help federal agencies and other groups to innovate, collaborate, and discover new solutions.
- Crowdsourcing involves an open call for volunteers to provide information or help solve a particular problem. A large group of either unknown or trusted individuals (“the crowd”) responds.
- Citizen science involves voluntary public participation in the scientific process to form research questions, conduct scientific experiments, collect and analyze data, interpret results, make discoveries, develop technologies and applications, and solve complex real-world problems.
The toolkit suggests ways that groups can use these approaches to enhance scientific research, address societal needs, and/or provide hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and increase STEM literacy.
The toolkit describes five basic steps for planning, designing, and carrying out a crowdsourcing or citizen science project, including a list of tips at each step to keep projects on track. The toolkit also provides case studies describing crowdsourcing and citizen science projects and a resource library of additional information for supporting these projects.