The crowdsourcing of science is not new with professor Olmsted’s crowdsourcing of meteorological observations in early half of the 19th century followed by the Audubon bird counts and National Weather Service weather observations since the early 1900s. Prior to the 1990’s and the widespread availability of the internet, crowdsourced science faced many logistical hurdles. Imagine trying to crowdsource research prior to the advent of computers! Sure, scientists could reach citizen scientists via newspapers or newsletters, but the effort needed to compile the data obtained from citizen scientists could not have been easy! For example, a scientist collecting information from citizen scientists might have to parse through snail mailed letters, or telegraphs, or carefully document information collected from phone calls. Once compiled, the local agency scientist or collaborator might then have to send the information to a national agency scientific team (depending how vast the effort). This information would then have to be compiled meticulously for useful analysis.

This post was originally written as part of the Neat Science Thursday series as well as an intro for Mark2Cure and can be viewed in its entirety here.

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