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Peer-reviewed article

Galaxy Zoo: Motivations of Citizen Scientists

December 1, 2013 | Public Programs

Citizen science, in which volunteers work with professional scientists to conduct research, is expanding due to large online datasets. To plan projects, it is important to understand volunteers' motivations for participating. This paper analyzes results from an online survey of nearly 11 000 volunteers in Galaxy Zoo, an astronomy citizen science project. Results show that volunteers' primary motivation is a desire to contribute to scientific research. We encourage other citizen science projects to study the motivations of their volunteers, to see whether and how these results may be generalized to inform the field of citizen science.


  • M. Jordan Raddick
    Johns Hopkins University
  • BraceyPhoto070313
    Co-Principal Investigator
    Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Pamela Gay
    Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Chris Lintott
    Oxford University
  • Carie Cardamone
    Brown University
  • Phil Murray
    Fingerprint Digital Media
  • Kevin Schawinski
    Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule
  • Alexander Szalay
    Johns Hopkins University
  • Jan Vandenberg
    Johns Hopkins University
  • Citation

    DOI : 10.3847/AER2011021
    ISSN : 1539-1515
    Publication Name: Astronomy Education Review
    Volume: 12
    Number: 1
    Page Number: 1
    Resource Type: Research Products
    Discipline: Education and learning science | Space science
    Audience: General Public | Museum/ISE Professionals | Evaluators
    Environment Type: Public Programs | Citizen Science Programs

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