When you were little, did you wonder what scientists did?
Did you know that anyone could do science?
We'd love people interested in science to be able to share their stories to interest and inspire each other, so we can all find out about what's out there and how we can explore it. Many people in science today say that they first realised what was available to them when they met a scientist, or saw them posting online. As citizen scientists, we can have a similar effect, and also get to know each other better.
That gave us the idea to start collecting and sharing the stories of citizen scientists to build together a big, friendly collection not just of projects but of people's experiences, and post them on here and on our Facebook group. You can check our collection so far with our #CitSciStories tag.
We'd love to hear from you! It's up to you how much to write - it can be anything from a paragraph or two to a very long post. If you'd rather keep it super short, please use the #CitSciStories hashtag on Twitter. To submit a story, you can contact us via our Facebook page, fill in our online form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just put "CitSciStories" in the subject line. We'll publish the post here and on Facebook, unless you ask us to only publish it on one of them. Please tell us your name and what country you're in so we can credit you. We'd also love to have a photo of you or something from your citizen science, but we will understand if you would prefer not to do this and we are also happy to give you a nickname if you like.
What to write is extremely flexible. It can be any topic from ecology to history to engineering to astronomy ... anything you do to investigate the world, whether your own project or an established one, and at any level. We also don't have a rigid structure. However, if you can't think of a way to start, here are some suggested questions to imagine you're answering - pick any, all or none of them and in any order:
- What was your favourite science or questions you had as a child?
- How did science seem to you growing up or at university? Did citizen science change this?
- What science do you do outside your work?
- What have you learnt or experienced from it?
- What do you want to know? (Is it different from what other people in the project want to know?)
- What do you like or dislike about it?
- What would you change about citizen science - or indeed professional science?
- Do you think the term "citizen science" is a good one - is there a better term and why?
- Do you think citizen science can change things - science itself, education, the world?
- Who would you really like to meet, or have enjoyed meeting, through citizen science?
- Did doing citizen science change things for you, such as your career or hobbies or friends or outlook?
- What do citizen scientists you know want and need?
- What more would you do if you had more time?
- Could schools, universities, companies or governments be using citizen science more, and in what way?
(If you really don't want to write but you'd still like to be featured, please just contact us in the same way as described above and ask for a chat on the phone or Skype with Alice at our partner UCL, who edits these posts.)
We look forward to hearing from you!