Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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The Open Innovation Project Catalog and Toolkit will include a survey of past and potential open innovation projects and associated tools. The goal of the catalog is to identify a broad range of open innovation projects that span across the bureau and outside of the USGS, the variety of open innovation methods used, and the diverse types of participants in these projects. The goal of the toolkit is to identify tools and platforms that have been effectively used to inform future projects.

Common Characteristics of Open Innovation Projects

  • Actively engage participants,
  • Specifically engage participants with data,
  • Use systematic approaches to produce reliable knowledge,
  • Meet widely recognized standards of scientific integrity and practices common in science
  • Engage participants who are non-scientists,
  • Seek to use knowledge gained to contribute to science and/or community needs,
  • Confer some benefit to the participant for participating, and 
  • Involve the communication of results.​​​​​​​

How is Open Innovation Valuable to the Field of Science?

Existing Catalogs and Toolkits

  • Catalog
    • This searchable database provides a government-wide listing of citizen science and crowdsourcing projects designed to improve cross-agency collaboration, reveal opportunities for new high-impact projects, and make it easier for volunteers to find out about projects they can join. Projects submitted to the catalog are validated for agency involvement by federal employees.
  • Task:
    • Identify Risk-related projects in Catalog

scistarter logo hi res - SciStarter Blog


  • SciStarter is a globally acclaimed, online citizen science hub where more than 3,000 projects, searchable by location, topic, age level, etc, have been registered by individual project leaders or imported through partnerships with federal governments, NGOs, and universities. As a research affiliate of NCSU and ASU, and a popular citizen science portal, SciStarter hosts an active community of close to 100,000 registered citizen scientists and millions of additional site visitors. Hundreds of citizen science projects use SciStarter's NSF-supported APIs to help citizen scientists earn credit for their participation in their SciStarter dashboard, across projects and platforms. These features enable SciStarter's partners (libraries, schools, museums, Girl Scouts and more) to catalyze customized citizen science pathways and track and support the progress of their communities through SciStarter. SciStarter also supports researchers in managing projects, including best practices for engaging participant partners.

  • SciStarter helps bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world; the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies; and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities. We aim to:

    • Enable and encourage people to learn about, participate in, and contribute to science through both informal recreational activities and formal research efforts.
    • Inspire greater appreciation and promote a better understanding of science and technology among the general public.
    • Create a shared space where scientists can talk with citizens interested in working on or learning about their research projects.
    • Satisfy the popular urge to tinker, build, and explore by making it simple and fun for people—singles, parents, grandparents, kids—to jump in and get their hands dirty with science.

  • As your partner in research, provides tools for the entire research process including: creating new projects, managing project members, building custom data sheets, analyzing collected data, and gathering participant feedback. Citizen science empowers individuals to pursue their interests in the scientific world through developing and implementing projects using the scientific method. As a member of, you are encouraged to investigate your own scientific questions or jump on board as a volunteer for an existing project. stands out for its customization features that allow you to include your creativity into your research!

  • About


  • The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research. This research is made possible by volunteers — more than a million people around the world who come together to assist professional researchers. Our goal is to enable research that would not be possible, or practical, otherwise. Zooniverse research results in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications.
  • Zooniverse projects are constructed with the aim of converting volunteers' efforts into measurable results. These projects have produced a large number of published research papers, as well as several open-source sets of analyzed data. In some cases, Zooniverse volunteers have even made completely unexpected and scientifically significant discoveries.


  • is a free online citizen science platform developed by the Community Lab at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Anecdata is used by hundreds of individuals and organizations to gather and access citizen science observations and provides a platform to easily collect, manage, and share their citizen science data.

  • How Anecdata works:

    • Project managers create projects and use the datasheet designer to specify what data variables they want to collect from their volunteers.
    • Participants join the project and use the Anecdata website or mobile app to share their observations with the project.
    • Observation data is now available on the Anecdata website and mobile app for anyone to view and download!
  • Anecdata is an online community for citizen science! Anyone can use Anecdata to start a project and collect and share citizen science data. Data from projects on Anecdata are available for participants and everyone else to explore and download.

  • Anecdata is a project of the Community Lab at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Anecdata was created to fill a gap in the existing fabric of citizen science platforms, most of which were geared toward collecting observations of organisms.
  • Anecdata provides a versatile platform that accommodates projects that don’t fit into the constructs of other citizen science platforms. If your project is just collecting observations of birds, you might want to use eBird; if your project is about collecting observations of (and identifying) organisms, you might want to use iNaturalist. But if your project has needs that don’t fit into these (excellent) platforms, that’s where Anecdata comes in!

The Crowd and The Cloud 

  • Citizen science has amazing promise, but also raises questions about data quality and privacy. Its potential and challenges are explored in The Crowd & The Cloud, a 4-part public television series which first premiered in April 2017. Hosted by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, each episode takes viewers on a global tour of the projects and people on the front lines of this disruptive transformation in how science is done, and shows how anyone, anywhere can participate. In addition to viewing the series at this website, episodes will be re-run by many PBS stations through 2020, and can be accessed via, and also on Amazon PrimeA summative evaluation reporting on results can be found on

  • is a web platform that assists federal agencies with inviting ideas and solutions directly from the public, or “crowd.” This is called crowdsourcing, and it’s a tenet of the program. The website enables the U.S. government to engage citizen-solvers in prize competitions for top ideas and concepts as well as breakthrough software, scientific and technology solutions that help achieve their agency missions. This site also provides a comprehensive toolkit, a robust repository of considerations, best practices, and case studies on running public-sector prize competitions as developed with insights from prize experts across government.

Climate Change and Disaster Related Challenges

Other Prize and Challenge Competition Platforms

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