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Why start a Citizen Science Magazine?

What better way to start off a magazine than with an explanation of why citizen science is important enough to have a publication dedicated to it.

To start, let’s answer the more general question “what is citizen science”. Or as someone on a popular science forum asked,  “Aren’t scientists citizens?” . Of course they are. The idea of citizen science is not to create a new caste made up of scientists. Rather it is designed to eliminate any illusion that scientific citizenship is only for a specific group of people and requires almost a decade of schooling before one can make any real progress in science. Citizen Science seeks to lower the borders so to speak and show that not only is everyone welcome to, but able to partake in scientific research. Not only at the amateur level but with enough motivation, research grade science. (As a side-note, citizen science is not separate or antithetical to academic or industry science but rather symbiotic and can only serve to magnify the forward momentum of any discoveries made through the normal routes).  I think it is trivial then to make the leap that an increase in people involved with citizen science will increase the rate of scientific discovery. Which being the optimist, I believe is a good thing.

So why a magazine? Well, I became aware of Citizen Science this past spring when I found out about DIYbio (a biology based citizen science group). Being a part of this group has pushed me to learn far more than I could on my own, it has sparked countless projects and ideas and even gave me a reason to visit Berkeley (i.e. OpenScienceSummit). So it’s because of what Citizen Science has done for me that I would like to share that with as many people as I can. An online magazine is a good start but print still has value as a medium of distribution.  For example, I would never go to cosmopolitan.com and yet in a dentists office with that as my only option, I’ll read through the entire thing. The same would hold true for an online citizen science magazine, it is unlikely you would ever find it unless you chanced upon it via google or were already involved and active in a citizen science project. Print allows us to reach an audience not as easily reachable through online means.

Tl;Dr. for those who where scared by the giant block of text: Print is not dead, Citizen Science is Amazing and Everyone should support the magazine via kickstarter.