Our research lab explores how groups of people interact in online spaces, with a specific focus on citizen science. Our lab investigates key issues such as motivation, learning, collaboration, and coordination within crowdsourcing platforms. This research furthers our understanding of how to harness the collective power of a diverse and distributed crowd in addressing real-world challenges.

Faculty: Corey Jackson
Students: Ellie Jeong

Learn about our Crowdsourcing projects:

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Intelligent support for non-experts to navigate large information spaces

This three-year NSF grant addresses the growing challenge of identifying causal connections within the vast and diverse datasets generated by automated data-collection instruments in various fields. While data can provide insights into performance and causality, distinguishing causation from correlation remains a significant challenge. Human experts are limited in their capacity to handle large datasets effectively. The proposal suggests leveraging the power of the crowd, particularly through citizen science projects, to assist in data analysis. Citizen science has proven to be a valuable resource, but volunteers often lack the specialized knowledge required for in-depth analysis.


Zevin, M., Jackson, C. B., Doctor, Z., Wu, Y., Østerlund, C., Johnson, L. C., … & Téglás, B. (2023). Gravity Spy: Lessons Learned and a Path Forward. arXiv preprint arXiv:2308.15530.

Corieri, I., Østerlund, C., Crowston, K., & Jackson, C. B. (2023). Advanced work on user-generated content systems: Theory-driven method development. iConference 2023 Proceedings.

Crowston, K., Jackson, C., Corieri, I., & Østerlund, C. (2023, March). Design principles for background knowledge to enhance learning in citizen science. In International Conference on Information (pp. 563-580). Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland.

Jackson, C. B., Østerlund, C., Crowston, K., Harandi, M., & Trouille, L. (2020). Shifting forms of engagement: volunteer learning in online citizen science. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 4(CSCW1), 1-19.

Learning and motivation in online citizen science

Online citizen science projects facilitate collaboration on large-scale scientific research between professional scientists and amateurs. The citizen scientists who contribute to citizen science projects have been quite successful as several citizen scientists have made novel scientific contributions, and artifacts generated by citizen scientists are regularly used by professional scientists to advance scientific research. Learning and motivation are two critical areas of research dictating the success of online citizen science projects. The research investigates the learning process of citizen scientists by documenting the use and assemblage of socio-technical features that support learning. Additionally, we examine human motivation in citizen science platforms. Through assessing various design choices, we work to build a catalog of motivational drivers and their effect on the contribution behaviors of citizen scientists.


Jackson, C. B., Østerlund, C., Crowston, K., Harandi, M., & Trouille, L. (2020). Shifting forms of engagement: volunteer learning in online citizen science. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 4(CSCW1), 1-19.

Surveys of citizen science stakeholders

Researching all stakeholders in citizen science projects, including volunteers, scientists, and government stakeholders, is essential for understanding the dynamics and impact of these collaborative endeavors. Volunteers in citizen science projects play a central role in data collection, analysis, and sometimes even project design. Scientists, on the other hand, are responsible for project design, data validation, and interpreting the results. Government stakeholders, which can include agencies, policymakers, and regulators, also have a role in citizen science may fund or support citizen science initiatives, set regulations, or use citizen-generated data for decision-making. Our research seeks to examine the implications of citizen science for various stakeholders.

Relevant Publications

Jeong, E., Jackson, C., Dowthwaite, L., Ahmad, T., & Trouille, L. (2023, May). Assessing the Value Orientations of Contributors to Virtual Citizen Science Projects. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Communities and Technologies (pp. 191-202).