As investigators who engage the public in both modeling and research endeavors we address two major questions: Does citizen science have a place within the participatory modeling research community? And does participatory modeling have a place in the citizen science research community?
Let us start with definitions. Citizen science has been defined in many ways, but we will keep the definition simple. Citizen science refers to endeavors where persons who do not consider themselves scientific experts work with those who do consider themselves experts (around a specific issue) to address an authentic research question. An authentic research question is one that has real life consequences. Therefore citizen science should be considered separate from outreach or formal/informal scientific education activities which serve an important purpose in creating a scientifically literate public, but do not result in the production of new scientific knowledge.
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