ABSTRACT

Citizen science is growing rapidly in Australia and globally, and presents valuable opportunities to engage with the community and amplify scientific research. The recent growth in citizen science is largely attributed to technology and has resulted in citizen science now recognised as having the potential to augment and enhance traditional scientific research and monitoring. Citizen science can deliver a level of spatial granularity often not possible with conventional research. This, coupled with its potential to engage the public meaningfully in science, uniquely positions citizen science to monitor and thereby effect genuine scientific outcomes. However, the rapid growth in citizen science has also resulted in some data and information challenges that need to be overcome. Here we present a general overview of citizen science and some of the opportunities and challenges associated with its rapid growth, with a focus on Australia. We use case studies of successful citizen science projects in New South Wales to demonstrate its potential across areas such as cost efficiency and scalability. Overall, these examples show how citizen science has the potential to provide a monumental shift in our ability to monitor the environment while simultaneously increasing understanding and trust in science within the broader community.

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