Sometimes, even the cleverest of scientists could benefit from a helping hand. Be it the need for an extra pair of eyes, volunteers for large experiments or fundraising, crowd sourcing is becoming an ever popular way of getting the public involved with scientific endeavours.
Just this week it was announced that archaeologists at the famous Bronze Age site Flag Fen, Cambridgeshire would be inviting members of the public to get on board with the excavations.
The site, an ancient causeway, must be kept constantly wet to preserve the fragile timbers. By opening the dig up to the public, the team will be able to completely excavate the site before it eventually dries out as a result of climate change.
The project will also gain a much-needed funding injection, as each volunteer will need to provide a hefty £125 donation.
Usually, out side of universities, archaeological digs go ahead prior to building developments. However, these construction projects have slowed down in recent years meaning there simply aren’t enough qualified archaeologists to finish the job.
On the other side of the world, and with their sights set a little further a field, the folks at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) have developed a website which encourages the public to help with the awesome task of discovering evidence of Extraterrestrials.
The team has been scanning the skies for over 20 years, anaylising thousands of radio signals from their base in California, US.
After winning the TED prize in 2009 and gaining $100,000 in funding the SETI team linked up with company Zooniverse to set the project in motion.
In another space-based project, Galaxy Zoo, also part of the Zooniverse family, the public were asked to participate in the analysis of data (this time concerning objects we definitely know exist). They were asked to classify galaxies captured by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) telescope in New Mexico, US.
In its first newsletter in 2007, the Galaxy Zoo teamed told its 80,000 volunteers that in just a few months, they had managed to classify 10 million galaxies, proving how beneficial a little helping hand could be.
So are we seeing a new revolution in science? Are we in the reign of the citizen scientist?