Citizen Science: How Anyone Can Contribute to Scientific Discovery Reviews

Citizen Science: How Anyone Can Contribute to Scientific Discovery: ISBN 978-1-68282-735-2 / eBook: 978-1-68282-736-9
School Library Journal, November 1, 2019

Gr 7 Up–Hulick illustrates that no one is too young or too old to help in the search for scientific truth. The term citizen science refers to someone who lacks formal training but who can contribute to collective scientific knowledge through their own research and investigations. The text is less about potential discoveries that amateur scientists can make in various fields and more about bringing people together to appreciate a shared quest for information. Hulick outlines ways anyone can get involved; she offers an overview of the scientific method and provides large and small success stories. Jane Goodall’s work is cited as a prime example of the power of citizen science. An appendix lists organizations to contact and ongoing projects that anyone can begin immediately. VERDICT An insightful guidebook for the budding scientist in us all. Educators will also come away with ideas for sparking students’ interest in science beyond the walls of the classrooms.–Kevin McGuire, Woodland Hills School District, PA

Citizen Science: How Anyone Can Contribute to Scientific Discovery: ISBN 978-1-68282-735-2 / eBook: 978-1-68282-736-9
School Library Connection, January/February 2020

Everyday people who are not trained as scientists can nevertheless contribute to all fields of scientific discovery through observation and documentation. Through endeavors such as crowdsourcing or sharing observations to posting questions and photographs online, ordinary people around the globe have changed the world through their contributions to science. This short book is full of stories of famous citizen scientists—like Jane Goodall, Richard Leaky, and Heddy Lamar—as well as the relatively unknown, like the mom who first questioned the poor water quality in her Flint, Michigan home. The efforts of citizens can also support causes such as disaster relief and activism which can lead to the changing of laws to protect people and their environments. A list of projects and organizations is included at the end of the book, however, QR codes (to the relevant projects or organizations) near the appropriate stories would do better to capitalize on the reader’s curiosity. An index and a list of further reading materials are also included.
Terri Lent, NBCT, School Librarian, Patrick Henry High School, Ashland, Virginia

Citizen Science: How Anyone Can Contribute to Scientific Discovery: ISBN 978-1-68282-735-2 / eBook: 978-1-68282-736-9
Booklist, November 15, 2019

When Canadian Chris Ratzlaff discovered a sky glow that had been entirely unknown to science in 2014, he wasn’t a professional astronomer but a citizen scientist who enjoyed watching the night sky as a hobby. In this comprehensive and easy-to-read text, accompanied by relevant photos, sidebars, and other visuals, Hulick describes the role of citizen scientists and makes a case for their necessity. Throughout several chapters, Hulick explores why individuals become citizen scientists, ways that scientists form volunteer teams (e.g., apps), ways that scientists keep these volunteers engaged (e.g., turning data sorting into a game), and how citizen scientists can bring attention to a crisis on their own, then making scientists their allies. She emphasizes that most research labs can’t handle the volume of data or time needed to look for patterns or anomalies. Citizen scientists are not just useful but essential to science! Readers will be most impressed by the large number and variety of citizen-scientist projects described and the appended project finder resources. A valuable topic that makes STEM accessible to students.

Citizen Science: How Anyone Can Contribute to Scientific Discovery: ISBN 978-1-68282-735-2 / eBook: 978-1-68282-736-9
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2019

A slim primer outlining the many ways amateurs contribute to scientific research and discovery.

Focused on the diversity of citizen science initiatives and participants, this succinct, jargon-free volume reads like a feature story. The author likens the practice to democratic government in that ordinary people take part in activities that shape society. The book opens with a glimpse at the birth of scientific inquiry, emphasizing the importance of formal education but spotlighting people either excluded or absent from the academy. The second chapter advocates vast data collection and the wisdom of crowds, citing the role of citizens in untangling mysteries like monarch butterfly migration and weather patterns. Chapter three delves into the human knack for pattern recognition and problem-solving: Whether tagging, transcribing, and interpreting data or engaging in gamified tasks, amateurs are indispensable in organizing digital information and training artificial intelligence software. The final chapter explores grassroots enterprises such as activism around inequality in exposure to environmental toxins. Prominent criticisms of citizen science—including attacks on expertise in public discourse, the intersections of business and academia, and the ethics of uncompensated labor—are conspicuously absent. Clean design intersperses text with color images and sidebars; appendices point inspired readers to information to spur immediate action. Concise and accessible, although one-sided, the book is a decent acquisition in a mostly empty field. (source notes, projects and organizations, additional reading, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)