The Biomedical Citizen Science Hub

By Katrina Theisz1, Jennifer Couch1, Elizabeth Gillanders1

1. National Cancer Institute

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In an effort to help connect the widely dispersed practitioners and resources of biomedical citizen science, NIH have teamed up with HUBzero to build the Biomedical Citizen Science Hub, The Hub (CitSciBio) is designed to be a collaborative virtual environment, and to be complementary to the existing citizen science and crowdsourcing websites and project databases. The field of biomedical citizen science is ever expanding and changing, and resources can be difficult to find as they tend to be scattered across different areas of the internet (scholarly publications, lay publications, recorded presentations, project portals, social media, etc.). Our intent is to create an online collaboration space for this growing field, and to enable the gathering the references, methods, and communities to be discovered and engaged by interested stakeholders. Users are able to work on projects (anything from collaborating on a blog series or a scholarly publication, to starting a biomedical citizen science or crowdsourcing project), store data and databases related to those projects. HUBzero infrastructure also allows for much more functionality which can be unlocked or developed as needed.


 CitSciBio is designed to enable the community to:


  • Promote the evaluation of citizen science methods and assess which kinds of scientific questions are best-addressed using citizen science approaches.
  • Share knowledge, common practices, and successful citizen science methodologies to the biomedical citizen science research community and other stakeholders.
  • Build expertise and resources to support the rapidly growing field of citizen science.
  • Advocate for and support open and citizen-inclusive (empowered) data sharing and the development of tools and platforms necessary to do this effectively.
  • Foster communication and interaction among the geographically dispersed biomedical citizen science practitioners.
  • Assess the infrastructure and computational demands associated with direct engagement of patients and the public in data collection, data donation, and data analysis.
  • Investigate and maintain informational resources on the ethical, legal, and social implications of research that uses citizen science methods.


Impact on SciTS field:

Citizen science and crowdsourcing are emerging fields as methods of research. As more biomedical researchers accept and adapt these methods (and as more citizen scientists partner with researchers), resources and infrastructure to support these endeavors become increasingly important. Over time, much can be learned from those using CitSciBio to collaborate, learn, and engage each other in regards to team formation, dynamics, and interdisciplinarity within the coordination and communication of distributed/virtual teams. In the short term, the hub can help contribute knowledge, resources, and a collaborative platform for researchers and citizen scientists to find resources, methods, and team members.


Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Katrina Theisz; Jennifer Couch; Elizabeth Gillanders (2016), " The Biomedical Citizen Science Hub,"

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