There is ample evidence that citizens without formal science qualifications can plan an important part in the development of science.
A great example is the partnership of citizens with scientists in the area now described as citizen science. Citizen science has covered many fields including Astronomy, the Environment, Biology and Medicine. The citizens performed many different roles, including collecting data and analysing data provided to them. The acceptance of science done in this way is shown by its acceptance in the scientific literature. The breadth and acceptance can be seen in the publication in the on-line peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS One, “An Analysis of Citizen Science Based Research: Usage and Publication Patterns” by Ria Follett highlights the breadth of this research.
If you are interested in getting involved, a list of over 1,600 formal and informal research projects, events and tools are published on scistarter and anyone can find something of interest and get involved.
In most of these projects citizens act as an important and valued assistants to scientists in their research. Alternatively, citizens can create their own projects, and join in with other citizens around the world to explore areas they are interested. This site is running projects to facilitate this.
The first project was on aquaponics – the growing of fish and plants together in a symbiotic relationship. Details of this project discussed here.
What new projects can we do together?