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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Shawn Carlson

Executive Director of the Society for Amateur Scientists

Shawn Carlson, Ph.D. is the Founder and Executive Director of the Society for Amateur Scientists.  He is a former columnist for Scientific American magazine, and an advisor to Popular Mechanics. Today he writes 'The Citizen Scientist' column for Make magazine.  Dr. Carlson is also the creator of the Labrats Science Education program. Moreover, his science fair support website,, is one of the most popular science fair sites on the Web. In 1999 Dr. Carlson was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship for his work with citizen scientists. 

The Citizen Scientist Observatory Registry (CSOR)

The Society for Amateur Scientists is constructing what it believes could become a major resource to grow and to empower the citizen scientist community. The Citizen Scientist Observatory Registry (CSOR) will allow professionals and qualified citizen scientists to easily establish their own research projects online and to recruit others from around the world to participate.  CSOR will provide a flexible Web-based tool to define research projects and to create data templates that precisely specify what data needs to be taken to take part. All data will be merged into a universal database that can be accessed by all participants in a given project.  By providing tools to allow collaborators to communicate instantly, to display and analysis data geographically, and to automatically provide quality assurance checks of the data fidelity we hope to both help unite the citizen scientist community and to liberate their scientific creativity.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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