Join a Citizen Science Project
ALAM encourages public participation in science and citizen science has a central part in this. It is a contribution by the public to research, actively undertaken and requiring thoughtful action.
Citizen science projects involve non-professionals taking part in crowdsourcing, data analysis, and data collection. The idea is to break down big tasks into understandable components that anyone can perform.
An example would be the collaboration between Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and the World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) who are making efforts to appoint some villagers within the Setiu Wetlands as ‘citizen scientists’ to provide professionals with information that can improve data collection.
Another example would be the joint effort between ECOMY and The Friends of Sarawak Museum to engage with the Bidayuh community to record the rich biodiversity around the base of Bukit Peninjau, near Kuching.
Proposed collaboration between ECOMY and The Friends of Sarawak Museum to engage with
the Bidayuh community to record the rich biodiversity around the base of Bukit Peninjau, near Kuching.
In all these cases, people know what they’re taking part in. The UMT-WWF project is a perfect example of citizen science that was both data collection and analysis - in this case, the villagers becoming “little ambassadors” who will use their age-old knowledge about the wetlands when they engage with visitors, including research students and scientists from all over the world.
Above all, citizen science demonstrates that people want to make a contribution to science. It is easy to understand why people want to make a meaningful donation of their time, and heartening that this is the case.
The aim of citizen science ought to be to undertake research and discovery. That is surely wrapped up in its definition as a subset of science. It is not outreach or education – which our sites are often confused with in academia.
The web is a sophisticated place and a well designed citizen science site can go far and do a lot of good work.
Of paramount importance is the concept of authenticity. Genuine participation in science is essential in an era when such a thing is possible. It has been convincingly shown that the public can contribute to research via the web, it is incumbent on ALAM and its related web-based projects to keep the bar raised and the standard high.
ALAM is at the beginning of a Malaysian citizen science renaissance online. Beyond the purview of bug-collectors and bird-watchers, we can now tap into the cognitive surplus - the population’s free time - and attempt truly distributed research.
For details, please contact us at: email@example.com