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National Cancer Institute

Citizen Science- The Ultimate Team Science: A Look at Public Participation in Biomedical Research

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Theisz K. Citizen Science- The Ultimate Team Science: A Look at Public Participation in Biomedical Research. Oral presentation at 2017 SciTS Conference. Clearwater Beach, FL. Jun 13, 2017. Translational Health Research. Online at:

This presentation will serve as a state-of-the-science overview on the use of citizen science, crowdsourcing, and other methods of open innovation in biomedical research, with an emphasis on how the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports open innovation methods. The NIH Citizen Science Working Group, a research interest group comprised of over 50 program officers from across the NIH, defines citizen science as a complex set of methods a collaborative approach to research involving the public, not just as subjects of the research or advisors to the research but as direct collaborators and partners in the research process itself. Over the years these methods have been used prolifically in disciplines such as ornithology, ecology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy. Their use in biomedical research is far more recent. This presentation will examine the benefits and barriers specific to incorporating open innovation methods into biomedical research from a federal perspective, and how NIH has implemented public feedback into its approaches. Some examples of benefits include the acquisition of more insight and data than would have been possible using conventional approaches and harnessing the creativity of the public to solve problems, and a few examples of barriers include protecting the security and privacy of personal health data and bureaucratic delays to implementation. The presentation will conclude with links to free resources and open funding opportunities. Citizen science involves individuals working together to identify and solve scientific quandaries, not only from across scientific disciplines but often individuals whose expertise and training lies outside of the realms of science. In this way, citizen science can easily be defined as the ultimate team science with the greatest discipline diversity across teams. The impact of citizen science on the study of SciTS has the potential to be great and will need to continue to be assessed as these methods develop and change.



Type of Publication:

Oral presentation


scits 2017 conference, presentation, citizen science, public participation, biomedical research

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Conduct research on/evaluate team science
  • Engage community partners in your scientific team

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Resource created by Jane Hwang on 10/3/2017 5:52:35 PM.

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