Gender Imbalance and Spatiotemporal Patterns of Contributions to Citizen Science Projects: the case of Zooniverse

Created Oct. 26, 2021, 12:21 a.m.
Updated Oct. 26, 2021, 6:17 p.m.

"Citizen Science is research undertaken by professional scientists and members of the public collaboratively. Despite numerous benefits of citizen science for both the advancement of science and the community of the citizen scientists, there is still no comprehensive knowledge of patterns of contributions, and the demography of contributors to citizen science projects. In this paper we provide a first overview of spatiotemporal and gender distribution of citizen science workforce by analyzing 54 million classifications contributed by more than 340 thousand citizen science volunteers from 198 countries to one of the largest online citizen science platforms, Zooniverse. First we report on the uneven geographical distribution of the citizen scientist and model the variations among countries based on the socio-economic conditions as well as the level of research investment in each country. Analyzing the temporal features of contributions, we report on high “burstiness” of participation instances as well as the leisurely nature of participation suggested by the time of the day that the citizen scientists were the most active. Finally, we discuss the gender imbalance among online citizen scientists (about 30% female) and compare it with other collaborative projects as well as the gender distribution in more formal scientific activities. Online citizen science projects need further attention from outside of the academic community, and our findings can help attract the attention of public and private stakeholders, as well as to inform the design of the platforms and science policy making processes."(from the abstract in the article)

Publish information

Authors K Ibrahim; S Khodursky; T Yasseri;
Year of publication: 2021
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fphy.2021.650720
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