Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

How to Recruit 23 Million Scientists

Credit: Stuart Harris

Credit: Stuart Harris

By Carla Sbrocchi, Gretta Pecl, Chris Gillies & Philip Roetman

Partnerships between scientists and everyday Australians are changing the face of scientific discovery and exploration.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

David Attenborough is talking about it, Brian Cox is talking about it, and it’s being talked about all across Australia. Citizen science, the process of engaging the public in scientific enquiry, has undergone a renaissance in recent times and is playing a critical role in re-engaging society in the sciences.

The potential for citizen science to unlock public interest in science in Australia is huge. Already there are more than 130,000 Australians active in at least 170 citizen science projects, with the number and scope of projects rapidly increasing.

Citizen science cuts across scientific fields, institutions, governments and demographics. Projects are run by non-Governmental organisations and community groups, as well as organisations like CSIRO, state governments, private foundations, museums and universities – all unlocking Australia’s science potential.

Participation in citizen science has been shown to address environmental issues at many scales, contribute to novel scientific research, improve the skills and knowledge of individuals, increase social networks, and give a voice to underserved individuals and communities.

So how do we harness 23 million Australian brains for exploration and discovery?

Every Australian can participate in activities like counting koalas while bushwalking, reporting unexpected catches on their...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.