Citizen Social Science

Daniel Darg1, Alex, Szalay1, 2, M. Jordan Raddick1, [1] Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science, Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Johns Hopkins University; [2] Department of Computer Science, Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University


Citizen Social Science (CSS) is project centered on the development of a research and social-media platform that enables anyone to carry out social-scientific investigations. It aims to make survey research fun and economical by letting the crowd determine what questions or pattern-recognition tasks get presented to the crowd, and by letting the crowd in turn access and evaluate the statistical products it generates. This structured information exchange is inspired by free-market principles whereby elementary data inputs supplied by the crowd are combined into value-added statistical products that the crowd demands. CSS is itself an experiment – arising from our past involvement in the Citizen Science movement – to determine the strengths and weaknesses of letting a self-organizing crowd carry out research with minimal academic oversight. Anticipating that the crowd will be most interested in studying the statistical characteristics of the crowd itself, the platform is being equipped with tools aimed at people-centric investigations; hence the academic title, Citizen ‘Social’ Science.