Thursday, August 06, 2015

Sharing the Work

Scanning the cliffs near Logan Pass for mountain goats (Citizen Science) (4427399123)
By GlacierNPS [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Working together, even to change the world, doesn’t have to involve a great deal of effort. In the spirit of the “work smarter, not harder” mantra, platforms for problem solving demonstrate that mass collaboration can result in successful projects while reducing each participant’s workload.
Anthony D. Williams, PLATFORMS FOR 

One of the benefits of Globally Distributed Creative Problem Solving is this ability to share the work of changing the world. In the face of a never-ending cycle of bad news, our natural reaction may be to turn away in defeat, thinking that the problems are too big for us to do anything about. What could we possibly do in the face of environmental and cultural inertia, a billion dollar lobbying industry, and years of poor education?

Well, hundreds of people around the world, using a simple disk and a data gathering app, can provide data that will help scientists create an accurate map of the world's phytoplankton population. "Citizen scientists" around the world can help provide data to numerous scientific studies, accelerating the research process.

If you are interested in participating, you can find a number of projects at Citizen Science AllianceScientific American, National Geographic, as well as this list on Wikipedia.