Zooniverse is a platform where researchers can build projects and solicit the help of volunteers to complete work that would otherwise be impossible or infeasible for them to do on their own. This work ranges from creating transcriptions of documents, identifying animals in photographs, or even identifying the types of vibrations created by the notes played on a steelpan. The types of projects on the website are not limited in scope, and allow for people with a variety of specializations to make use of the platform, and its “people-powered” research model. The creators of this platform come from many institutions, including Oxford, The Adler Planetarium, the University of Minnesota, and more. The full list of individuals working and contributing to this platform here.
In addition to hosting projects and tasks for volunteers to work on, Zooniverse also features areas on the website to talk with other volunteers and project managers, either to get updates, ask questions, or discuss updates to the website and the forthcoming mobile app. For those attempting to upload a project onto Zooniverse, there are extensive tutorials that discuss how to build a project that will live on the site, as well as continued management of your project.
This website would be especially useful for students trying to better understand the research process. Not only would they be introduced to the type of research being done in their field (and others, if they chose to peruse other areas of the site), but they would also grow to understand how work is conducted in their field, and how data is collected and interpreted. Most obviously, this website is useful for researchers who need help with processing data or the research process more broadly.