Skip to Main Content
University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Open Research: a Practical Guide

Citizen science and participatory research

This Practical Guide provides helpful support and links to recommended external resources for a range of open research practices.

Citizen science

Many dots surrounding a circle, suggesting global participationData can be collected and analysed on a huge scale through crowdsourcing. This creates new opportunities for knowledge sharing and public engagement with your research. 

The FOSTER Open Science Handbook defines citizen science as "both an aim and enabler of Open Science", as it can refer to public participation as well as greater understanding and appreciation for the research process.  

Zooniverse is probably the most widely used platform for building citizen science projects. Here is a list of their currently active projects, covering a wide range of disciplines (and not just sciences). Their most successful project is Galaxy Zoo, which has tens of thousands of volunteers from around the world. SciStarter is another widely used directory for citizen science projects.

Researchers need to consider potential ethical and legal issues when developing a citizen science project, particularly when it involves collecting personal information from the public. See the University's Code of practice and principles for good ethical governance

Further resources:

How you can shape social science research (ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021)

This online event showcased opportunities for public involvement and co-production in social science research at the University of York. It was part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2021 and was made possible thanks to funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), which is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The presenters were Dr Katherine Brookfield (Lecturer in Human Geography, ECR Representative on the University Open Research Strategy Group), Hannah Gray (Involvement@York Network Manager) and Emma Williams (Involvement@York Expert by Experience), Dr Sarah West (Stockholm Environment Institute at York, Centre Director & Senior Research Associate) and Dr Rachel Pateman (Stockholm Environment Institute at York, Research Associate) and Dr Geoff Page, Research Associate (Social Policy and Social Work, Covid Realities project)