For as long as people have been experimenting with their health, citizen science has existed. The scientific method is the way we uncover knowledge about our bodies, the world, and ourselves. Citizen science is public involvement in the process of data collection, analysis, and reporting.
Why Citizen Science?
The need for citizen science grows out of growing frustration and disappointment with the often-glacial pace of medical research, and lack of funding in key areas. Citizen scientists are everyday people who volunteer their time, energy, expertise, and data towards a common study or purpose.
What Does Citizen Science Look Like?
According to the Citizen Science Association, citizen science practice has four common features:
Anyone can participate
Participants use the same protocol so data can be combined and be high-quality
Data can help real scientists come to real conclusions
A wide community of scientist and volunteers work together and share data to which the public, as well as scientists, can access.
While citizen science projects can happen on a large scale, people are increasingly participating in what is called “biohacking.” Made possible by new technology, devices, and trackers, everyday people are able to garner an astounding amount of information from their bodies from their heart rate to how much they move during sleep.
These insights have led to incredible feats in correcting medical issues, slowing the aging process, and even reversing cancer. These stories are inspiring everyday people to seek their very own personalized solutions by tuning into their bodies, taking advantage of new technology, and sharing in a new vision for what medical research can look like in the 21st century.