"Macrotasks" in community science

Hi, is anyone here aware of ongoing/active community sci projects that offer “macrotasks” (things which are more “deep” than the “photograph/ID organisms, transcribe herbarium labels, play a tile-matching game to help psychologists, send live samples to labs, etc.” style microtasks used by typical public science participation programs)? I am aware of only one (https://theoryandpractice.citizenscienceassociation.org/articles/10.5334/cstp.166/), but that one has permanently ended if I am not mistaken.


In other words, I am interested in performing advanced data interpretation and analysis (like discovering the adaptive value conferred by morphological traits with unknown functions).

The main one that’s interactive, and not just a photo ID or a matching process, that comes to mind is the protein folding game Foldit.

Foldit is a revolutionary crowdsourcing computer game enabling you to contribute to important scientific research. This page describes the science behind Foldit and how your playing can help.

There are a lot of others that work with bulk data by using your computer’s resources when its idle to crunch numbers, but that’s not interactive. This is what SETI At Home does with radio telescope data, and it was pretty much the initial online community science project that kicked off many of the rest of the online ones that work on the distributed supercomputer idea.

Similarly BOINC has a bunch of community based science projects you get involved in that work with bulk data, but they’re also things that run in the background and when the computer is otherwise idle.

The Zooniverse page has a large number of projects divided up by field of interest (Art/Biology/Climate/etc) that are more interactive, but you’d have to so some digging around to figure out which ones were more than just ID, transcribing, or picture recognition. GalaxyZoo, one of the projects mentioned in the paper OP linked, can be found here in the Zooniverse site.

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I don’t know of any projects that focus on this. In most (ecological) sci work that I’m familiar with, the professional (paid) scientists are the ones doing advanced data interpretation and analysis. That said, there’s nothing to stop you from grabbing some open source data and doing a bunch of analyses yourself! There are so many questions and datasets out there, the possibilities are neverending.


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