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Zooniverse, the crowdsourced citizen science platform, announced today that it’s reached a big milestone: one million volunteers partaking in its projects.
The organization, which started out less than seven years ago with a single project, Galaxy Zoo, now has 20 citizen science initiatives. They have expanded from space projects, like exploring the surface of the moon and helping astronomers understand star clusters, to annotating diaries of World War I soldiers and scanning ocean floors.
To commemorate the milestone, Zooniverse released a map showing where the volunteers come from. Given that the platform offers English, German, and Polish language options, it makes sense that Europe is a big source of volunteers, as is North America. There are, however, also large clusters of users in parts of Latin America and Asia. And while people in the Middle East and North Africa as a whole don’t seem to participate very much on Zooniverse, Israel seems to be a relatively big volunteer base. You can check out the full map here.
Zooniverse, for those who are unfamiliar with the platform, is a citizen science project that asks the crowd to help researches comb through troves of data. Its projects are simple and intuitive — which has surely helped to secure its large user base. Volunteers look at photos and tag interesting features, or call out anything that’s noteworthy. This saves a lot of work for the scientists, allowing them to focus on potentially more important tasks.
Though the milestone is certainly a cause for celebration for Zooniverse, it’s unclear how many members actually stay active on the platform for long, or participate in more than one project. We recently featured a study about the citizen science platform that explored some of those uncertainties, you can read about it here.