To make sense of the many different projects we uncovered, we found this typology to be particularly useful:
“While there are dozens of Web sites and projects dedicated to the “citizen science” movement, they tend to fall under one of three categories.
* The first are computer programs that run on idle computers. These programs use the extra computing power for folding protein structures, looking for extraterrestrial life and everything in between.
* The second type involves a bit more work on the volunteers part, asking them to map, photograph or identify geographical areas they know well.
* And, the third and most diverse category is the ‘field reporter’ category, where volunteers are encouraged to observe birds, insects or plants in their neighborhoods or backyards and contribute data to larger tracking projects.”
The above article by Jaya Saxena has many nice examples as well.