Please join us for the Information Science Colloquium with guest, Edith Law, a post doctoral fellow from the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University.

Title: Curio: Re-thinking Citizen Science from the Scientist's Perspective

Abstract:: Science is increasingly data-intensive; many scientific questions require data to be collected over large geographic regions and many time scales, and many of the tasks for reducing raw data to conclusion are not yet automated by computers.  The idea of citizen science is to engage massive number of everyday citizens in the collection and interpretation of data in order to answer scientific questions at scale.  To date, the barrier to entry has been substantial: researchers who are interested in leveraging crowdsourcing in their research process must either build their own website and user base from scratch, partner with existing citizen science organizations (e.g., Zooinverse), or leverage paid crowdsourcing platforms such as Mechanical Turk, which requires a fair degree of technical sophistication to use effectively.

We introduce Curio (, a platform for crowdsourcing research tasks in the sciences and humanities. Curio is designed to allow researchers, who are domain experts but not necessarily technically savvy or familiar with crowdsourcing, to create and launch a new crowdsourcing project with minimal effort, and to draw on the curiosity of a mixed-expertise crowd to generate data towards testing specific hypotheses.   In this talk, I will discuss findings from a set of 18 interviews conducted with researchers in the natural, social and medical sciences, and how these findings inspire the way we design Curio and re-think crowdsourcing in the scientific domains.


Edith Law is a CRCS postdoctoral fellow at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2012 with Ph.D. in Machine Learning, where she studied human computation systems that harness the joint efforts of machines and humans.  She is a Microsoft Graduate Research Fellow, co-authored the book "Human Computation" in the Morgan & Claypool Synthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, co-organized the Human Computation Workshop (HCOMP) Series at KDD and AAAI from 2009 to 2012, and helped create the first AAAI Conference on Human Computation and Crowdsourcing. Her work on games with a purpose and large-scale collaborative planning has received best paper honorable mentions at CHI.