Crowdsourcing leverages the inputs, ideas and talents of many people in parallel to achieve a goal. Crowdsourcing or “citizen science” can also be an effective approach for science outreach that engages the public by enabling them to collect and analyze data. Willis et al. have developed and assessed a crowdsourced project in which digitized herbaria specimens were evaluated to generate a phenology database. Specifically, specimens of two species collected over 200 years were analyzed for the numbers of flower buds, flowers and fruits, to investigate changes in the timing of flowering. The authors found no differences in the quality of the data collected by experts and non-experts, demonstrating the feasibility of this approach. The project lives on the portal CrowdCurio, and is called Thoreau’s Field Notes. New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.14535
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