Agile collaboration: Citizen science as a transdisciplinary approach to heliophysics

Vincent Ledvina, Laura Brandt, Elizabeth MacDonald, Nathaniel Frissell, Justin Anderson, Thomas Y. Chen, Ryan J. French, Francesca Di Mare, Andrea Grover, Karl Battams, Kristine Sigsbee, Bea Gallardo-Lacourt, Donna Lach, Joseph A. Shaw, Michael Hunnekuhl, Burcu Kosar, Wayne Barkhouse, Tim Young, Chandresh Kedhambadi, Dogacan S. OzturkSeth G. Claudepierre, Chuanfei Dong, Andy Witteman, Jeremy Kuzub, Gunjan Sinha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Citizen science connects scientists with the public to enable discovery, engaging broad audiences across the world. There are many attributes that make citizen science an asset to the field of heliophysics, including agile collaboration. Agility is the extent to which a person, group of people, technology, or project can work efficiently, pivot, and adapt to adversity. Citizen scientists are agile; they are adaptable and responsive. Citizen science projects and their underlying technology platforms are also agile in the software development sense, by utilizing beta testing and short timeframes to pivot in response to community needs. As they capture scientifically valuable data, citizen scientists can bring expertise from other fields to scientific teams. The impact of citizen science projects and communities means citizen scientists are a bridge between scientists and the public, facilitating the exchange of information. These attributes of citizen scientists form the framework of agile collaboration. In this paper, we contextualize agile collaboration primarily for aurora chasers, a group of citizen scientists actively engaged in projects and independent data gathering. Nevertheless, these insights scale across other domains and projects. Citizen science is an emerging yet proven way of enhancing the current research landscape. To tackle the next-generation’s biggest research problems, agile collaboration with citizen scientists will become necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1165254
JournalFrontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics


  • aurora
  • citizen science
  • crowdsourced science
  • heliophysics
  • space weather


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