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What it means to be a citizen scientist

A project log for Open source Arduino blood glucose meter shield

Open hardware and software blood glucose meter using electrochemical test strips

M. Bindhammer 08/19/2016 at 17:214 Comments

I am a citizen scientist. A citizen scientist is in general an amateur scientist. Even I have an academic degree, I consider myself as an amateur scientist, because I quit my academic job a long time ago for a career in private industry.

If you are a citizen scientist, you do not have an easy life. Professional scientists usually just smile at citizen scientists. Submitted articles to professional science magazines will be nearly 100% rejected. The editor will tell you, that your article is not suitable for publication in his/her magazine, that the results are limited in scope, without clear connection to the magazines topics and that it would not be suitable for their readership.

A half year ago I had a vision of a niche Hackaday prize, the citizen scientist prize. I put it to the stack here: https://hackaday.io/page/1521-hackaday-science-prize-2016

Fortunately the Hackaday folks assimilated the idea. The citizen scientist prize achieved in total 216 entries and 20 semifinalists including my project. But what I really want to say is, that citizen scientists need a strong platform like a magazine where they can publish their results without being discriminated because they are amateurs. There are already some intentions in this direction, for example the The Citizen Science Quarterly. Please leave a comment, if you have the same or another opinion!

Discussions

Nathan Stanley wrote 10/19/2017 at 07:01 point

Bravo! I'm working (1 year contract!) as an R&D scientist at a university on a small commercialization project, but I love that you've chosen to break free from the politics, bureaucracy and metrics of academia. I really feel that the future of real innovation (and I don't use that word lightly) lies largely with smart people who break the mold which includes members of the hacker community. I think it's because those people are driven by completely different things such as true passion, curiosity and the desire to make the world a better place.

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esot.eric wrote 10/10/2016 at 19:12 point

I dig it!

Only fear is that it might A) get flooded with pseudo-science, perpetual motion machines, etc... or B) have to expend so much effort weeding that stuff out that it'll eventually start requiring credentials...

Maybe the proper option is to allow everything and allow the viewers to vote-with-their-views, etc...?

Nice job getting that category in the prize! And being awarded it!

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M. Bindhammer wrote 10/10/2016 at 19:40 point

Yes, could be an option. 

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David H Haffner Sr wrote 08/19/2016 at 19:34 point

I agree 100 percent! I have a degree also, but if you don't belong to some big name university or are working for a corporate entity, even joining some online research organizations will reject you for not having the "proper" credentials. 

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