Frequently asked questions

If you can't find the answer to your question here, please get in touch with us via email or Twitter and we'll do our best to help.

The short answer is emphatically, yes! Citizen science projects are specifically looking to get help from people who are not professional scientists. You can make a valuable contribution regardless of your skill level or education. All you need is a good pinch of curiosity and some spare time.

Don’t worry if you can’t tell a cumulus from a cirrus cloud or a goldfinch from a chaffinch – citizen science projects include training materials to teach you any skills required for data collection. Projects are usually designed with data checking and redundancies built in, so you don’t have to worry about doing something wrong.

Citizen scientists contribute their time, effort and resources toward scientific research. They can be engaged in a wide range of activities, including:

  • Citizen scientists explore their local environment, make observations and even come up with ideas for scientific investigations.
  • Citizen scientists systematically gather data. For example, to build species distribution atlases or to monitor environmental changes.
  • Some citizen scientists are also involved in analysing data, for example through large-scale, crowd-sourced projects.
  • Citizen scientists often help with informal science education (that is, learning that takes place outside the classroom).

Citizen scientists contribute to many different scientific areas, including ecology, astronomy, climate science, medicine, psychology, statistics and many more. Whether you pick your favourite topic or a research area you have never previously taken an interest in, you are bound to learn something new!

We have made this website to guide you towards citizen science projects that are particularly suitable for cyclists. You can start by searching our project database to find a project that sparks your interest. Many research projects are open to data collection from locations worldwide, but some are restricted to certain geographical regions.

You can also search for citizen science projects on other aggregator websites, such as SciStarter or Zooniverse. Some of the projects listed on these sites might not be suitable for longer cycle tours, but could be a good match for doing some research closer to home.

If you are planning a self-supported bike tour that is longer than 7 days and includes an element of adventure, you might also be eligible to join the Expedition and Adventure Psychology Participant Pool.

That is entirely up to you. You can fit a bit of citizen science into any schedule. You can be involved as little, or as much, as you like, whether it’s one hour a year, a month, a week or a day. Every litte data point helps! 

Many research projects are open to data collection from locations worldwide, but some focus only on specific geographical areas. To help you find the right project for your location, you can filter our project database by region.

Sooner or later, yes. However, whether or not you need to be online during data collection varies from project to project. Some projects require you to have access to a computer with a web browser, but many citizen science projects are available as mobile apps that can handle offline data collection. And sometimes it’s just fine to jot down your observations in a notebook and submit them via the internet later on.

To find a project that works for your next bike ride, you can filter our project database by tags like “Wifi required“, “Record offline” or “Pen & paper“.

Whether you are a minimalist bikepacker or a bring-the-kitchen-sink cycle tourer, your bags are likely already stuffed to the brim with things you need while you’re out on your bike. Or perhaps you are just going for a ride on your road bike with nothing but the lycra on your skin. We get it. No one wants to bring more stuff on their bike.

Fortunately, you probably are already bringing some powerful scientific equipment on your bike rides:

  • A pen, a notebook and a map
  • Your smartphone

As long as you can pinpoint the GPS coordinates of the location where you collected data, you’re good to go!

Yes, you can. In fact, one of the strengths of citizen science is that it allows anyone to influence which issues become the topic of scientific investigation. Numerous citizen science projects have been initiated by ordinary people with a particular concern about their community or environment.

There are many resources available online to help you develop your idea into a citizen science project, for example…

And don’t forget the most useful resource of all: curiosity!

We will continue to add projects to the Science by Bike database. If you would like to be notified about new projects, please follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter.

We are looking for citizen science projects that do not require much equipment beyond pen, paper and a smartphone. Cyclists like to travel light! If you think your research project is suitable, we’d love to hear from you! Just shoot us an email at hello@sciencebybike.com

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