How to Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science)

Two Parts:Joining ZooniverseJoining a project

Zooniverse is a platform for "people-powered research". Here you'll find dozens of projects in which you can participate as a volunteer to help researchers make discoveries, collate information, build datasets and contribute toward scientific publications. Best of all, you don't need to be an expert or specialized in science––you learn as you go and make use of the amazing skills you already have as a human being, such as pattern matching, spotting anomalies and growing in knowledge through habit. All of this can be done from home on your own computer, whenever you feel like.

Part 1
Joining Zooniverse

  1. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 1
    Go to the Zooniverse website. It's at:
  2. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 2
    Click on Register. This is found at the top right hand corner of the site's front page.
  3. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 3
    Fill in the registration form. You'll need to come up with a unique user name, a password and your email address. It will also ask you for real name, should you wish to be named in any scientific articles that are developed.
    • Agree to the privacy policy.
    • Decide whether or not you want to be emailed now and then
    • Decide whether or not you wish to be alerted to new projects as they arise.
  4. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 4
    Click Register. Follow the prompts sent to your email address for signing in. You're now ready to begin.
  5. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 5
    Check your profile. Here you'll find things you've favorited, collections you've made and the statistics on the projects you've participated in.

Part 2
Joining a project

  1. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 6
    Click on the tab that says Get Involved Now!. This will take you to the page of current projects, shown in image boxes.
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    Browse through the boxes. Which ones spring to mind as being interesting for you? The selection is growing regularly––while the site originated with astronomy projects (and still has many of these), it now covers a wider range of science and humanities projects, including climate, ecology, animals/nature, war, ocean, shipping, art, cyclones, and more.
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    Click on a project of interest. Read through what is involved in the project and consider whether it is something you'd enjoy doing. Browse through a few before making up your mind.
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    Start a project. Click on the Get Started tab. This will take you straight to the project page. Start classifying, sorting, noting or whatever else you've been asked to do. Things to consider when you first start out:
    • It can feel tricky to begin with. That's perfectly normal but rest assured that the more you do, the more familiar it will become and soon you'll be recognizing the things you're meant to without any problems.
    • Many projects allow for comments and discussion. If you want to leave a comment about an image or selection you're working on, click on the comment button and simply leave your Comment. If you wish to discuss it with other Zooniverse community members, click on the Discussion button and begin your discussion. Don't forget to check back to keep the discussion going. Some discussions can end up solving scientific issues!
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    Stay with the project for as long as you're keen. Try to set aside a regular time to come back to the project you're working on. This way, you will get into the habit of helping out, even if it's just five minutes here and 10 minutes there.
    • Be aware that many of the projects experience a big rush of enthusiasm at the beginning, only to wane over time (experiencing the long tail phenomenon). If the project really matters to you, try to keep coming back to it.[1]
  6. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 11
    Try out new projects. When one project ends or you've done your share of it, look for another one. In fact, there's no harm in having several projects going at the same time.
  7. Image titled Participate in Zooniverse (Citizen Science) Step 12
    Favorite images. While doing your citizen science research, if you come across images or information you really like, click on the heart symbol at the base of the image. This will store it for you and you can check your Favorites on your profile page.


  • Some projects have a limited time span and may end quickly, so if you really love the project, be aware of this possibility and participate while it's still possible.
  • Check out the publications that the citizen science efforts have helped contribute to at:
  • Make use of the discussion boards if you want to get involved deeply––it is here that you get a chance to talk to the scientists and other highly motivated volunteers and you may just solve scientific problems together. See further (this can be accessed by clicking Talk at the top of the page).
  • It is possible to build your own project on the site, one needing citizen science help to fulfill it. See the rules and conditions on the site for more details.
  • Teachers and educators can use Zooteach resources drawn from the projects for educating students. It's found at:

Things You'll Need

  • Computer, smartphone, other digital device
  • Good internet connection

Article Info

Categories: Volunteer and Community Service