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The new reference database about Citizen Science

We are happy to announce a new reference database for citizen science. It includes a list of more than 2,400 citations, including journal articles, reports, books, and guides. This curated list, which will grow over time, has done the work for you of searching across multiple libraries and keywords, to provide a first place to look for citizen science references.
The database is hosted in Zotero. You don’t need to have an account to navigate the online library. Currently, the database houses citations drawn from three different sources: the scientometric meta-analysis in Web of Science performed by Kullenberg and Kasperowski (2016), a review of framework and best practice documents by Shirk and Bonney (2015), and the first volume of the journal Citizen Science: Theory and Practice.

Library organization

The database is a group library with five collections.  The Web of Science collection presents the database used in the scientometric meta-analysis performed by Kullenberg and Kasperowski (2016). All of the new results using the same search strings (after October 13th 2015 and until August 4th 2016) were added to the collection called “Web of Science – Updates.” There is a collection that contains the first volume of the Citizen Science Journal (and the second volume is coming soon!). The Citizen Science Framework Review collection contains all papers cited in the report by Shirk and Bonney (2015), including appendixes. The collection “Others” is a more dynamic folder for interesting publications in the field. 

Summer Internship

IMG-20151114-WA0028The reference database is a result of a 2016 Summer internship. Jonatas Marques was the first intern working on behalf of the Citizen Science Association. He worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to improve an old reference database and make it publicly available using the Zotero platform. His summer project also involved creating a tagging scheme for the database organization, expanding the ability of users to find information and develop new search analysis.
Jonatas knew citizen science in 2014 when he became part of the Freshwater Watch in Brazil. He was fascinated by the idea of involving the public in scientific research and being part of that. He trained volunteers to perform water quality samples and assisted the PI in data analysis. He spent time searching in the scientific literature looking for other experiences and best practices in citizen science.
The inspiration for this reference database came from that period of endless searching, reading and searching and more searching. It would be much easier if there was a database of projects and references about citizen science. One step at the time. The reference database may be the first attempt to compile the most relevant publications about public participation in scientific research.

Working Group

We are looking forward to creating a working group that can sustain and continuously develop the reference database. There is a long path ahead. If you are interested in the tagging scheme and enhancing the database, you are more than welcome to participate.


We want to hear from you. If you find this tool useful, let us know. If you think there is something to improve, let us know. Your feedback is very important. You can contact Jonatas Marques at, or email


Kullenberg, C., & Kasperowski, D. (2016). What Is Citizen Science? – A Scientometric Meta-Analysis. PLOS ONE, 11(1), e0147152.
Shirk, J., & Bonney, R. (2015). Citizen Science Framework Review: Informing a Framework for Citizen Science. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.


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