Citizen Science Summit (Sept 12-13, 2016)

LSST EPO will be hosting an Online/Tucson BoF unconference on the topic of Citizen Science, September 12-13, 2016 with special guest Chris Lintott (Zooniverse).

If this area interests you, feel free to list your ideas or questions below and indicate time slots that work best for you.

For local participants, we’ll be in the Steward Building room N507 on Monday September 12 and the Scientific Conference Room (950 N. Cherry building) on Tuesday September 13.

For those participating remotely, you can join at any point via or 1-888-240-2560

Tweeters can use #citsci16

Collaborative note taking would be appreciated so we can capture all your thoughts, suggestions, impressions, inspiration:



Existing Zooniverse projects having potential overlap with LSST objectives:

Great insights and resources from @sjacoby

Successful Citizen Science projects are known to include these required elements:

  1. Don’t waste participant’s time - The work must be tuned to human capabilities; if a computer can do it better, have a computer do it
  2. Do real science - Result of the work is an authentic contribution to the field, not just “busy work”
  3. Reward volunteers - Citizen scientists’ efforts must be acknowledged, exact methods informed by research into participants’ motivations.

Possible pre-LSST data sets for prototyping:

  • Bochum Survey of the southern galacticc disk
  • Abi/Tim bulge data
  • DES

Is this in 2016 or 2017?

This would be September 12-13, 2016

I’m def interested in these topics, would probably participate remotely so hopefully BlueJeans can be set up for all the sessions and a detailed agenda published beforehand. thx!

i’m also interested in attending remotely (to the extent that i can, being on Hawaii time and also only being available on Sep 13). fwiw, i’m the lead of the existing Comet Hunters Zooniverse project.

Welcome @mssgill and @hhsieh !

We’ll definitely have BlueJeans set up and since this is an unconference, you get to create the agenda! Grab your time slot:

If a slot remains open (or the moderator doesn’t join) at the designated time, we’ll pick one of the ideas from this community post or give Chris Lintott an opportunity to lead a discussion on a topic of his choice.

@benepo - not sure what i’ll want to lead there yet, but just checking about the GDoc link, so none of us get confused about time: when you say MST it’s actual MST, not Arizona time, right, so that e.g. 10.30 MST is 9.30 PDT ? (DST goes until some time in Nov, btw) thx!

@mssgill Thank you for requesting the clarification. Arizona’s time zone policy is annoying and evil, but alas we’re stuck with it for now. To your point, I was actually referring to Arizona time (versus MDT - Mountain Daylight Time). So 10:30 MST on Sept 12 is 10:30 PDT.

Here’s a converter:,7,308&h=5318313&date=9/12/2016|3

Well evil is rather a strong word there Ben, though certainly confusing for folks in other zones, yes!

In fact, the whole discussion of whether time should be changed at all is an interesting one (i read some about the history of why AZ doesn’t change when i was there) – i’d personally be a proponent of keeping it DST all year, but i know many how don’t agree with that.

Anyway, thx for clarifying!

Yes, my style of humorous tongue-in-cheek exaggeration probably doesn’t come across well in a digital medium. My apologies. Time zones are important and I’m sure Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts etc. had good reasons for their DST peculiarities.

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I’ll try and attend some of this remotely too, thanks for setting up the BlueJeans and agenda!

Two ideas:

  1. Where do the DM team need volunteer help from scientists? e.g. the DES team did a lot of visual scanning of raw exposures looking for residual problems from the ISR. If we have a list of things that professional members of the science collaborations could usefully do, some of them could be opened to the wider citizen science community to good effect.

  2. An LSSTV station (on youtube or something) could produce daily programs that build up a following and both drive and reward citizen science participation. Discuss!

Thanks for the ideas @drphilmarshall!

Regarding your first point, I’m working on lining up participation from Sander Dieleman, a research scientist at Google DeepMind. Sander’s team won the Kaggle Galaxy Zoo Challenge using convolutional neural networks and I’m excited to hear his thoughts on how citizen science volunteers could help train/refine our algorithms using active learning.

Regarding the YouTube idea, I’m curious to hear your thoughts on how it intersects with Citizen Science (I had considered YouTube more of a social media and passive learning experience versus the Zooniverse-style active engagement). That said, I know @josh has been tracking various popular channels like:

And @sjacoby has included YouTube videos on our LSST news page like the Symmetry Magazine video mentioning LSST

Ben - I’d be interested in participating/helping with the Tidal Streams project. A census of the frequency of tidal features and their morphologies, host galaxy properties, etc., would be a fantastic project. We would be happy to contribute our Subaru+HyperSuprimeCam data set toward prototyping this project! [I’ll make some nifty image cutouts of tidal features from our HSC data before the unconference.]

I’ve signed up in a time slot on the spreadsheet, and would welcome anybody else who is interested to join the conversation!

By the way - what is the provenance of the “Galaxy Streams” and “Tidal Streams” documents that are linked in your post above? We should get the authors of those involved in the conversation?

Good idea. @sjacoby put together a listserv a while back specifically for that citizen science discussion. I’m working with IT to get it reinstated, but here are the members in case you want to reach out to them with a personal invite (since I’m swamped with interviews and travel over the next week):

I am interested and a better email for me (Andy Ptak) would be

Thanks, everyone, for your participation! It was a productive and educational summit. :smiley:

If you have any follow-up thoughts or notes, feel free to add them here: