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  1. ABSTRACT

    We use Bayesian convolutional neural networks and a novel generative model of Galaxy Zoo volunteer responses to infer posteriors for the visual morphology of galaxies. Bayesian CNN can learn from galaxy images with uncertain labels and then, for previously unlabelled galaxies, predict the probability of each possible label. Our posteriors are well-calibrated (e.g. for predicting bars, we achieve coverage errors of 11.8 per cent within a vote fraction deviation of 0.2) and hence are reliable for practical use. Further, using our posteriors, we apply the active learning strategy BALD to request volunteer responses for the subset of galaxies which, if labelled, would be most informative for training our network. We show that training our Bayesian CNNs using active learning requires up to 35–60 per cent fewer labelled galaxies, depending on the morphological feature being classified. By combining human and machine intelligence, Galaxy zoo will be able to classify surveys of any conceivable scale on a time-scale of weeks, providing massive and detailed morphology catalogues to support research into galaxy evolution.

  2. ABSTRACT We present Galaxy Zoo DECaLS: detailed visual morphological classifications for Dark Energy Camera Legacy Survey images of galaxies within the SDSS DR8 footprint. Deeper DECaLS images (r = 23.6 versus r = 22.2 from SDSS) reveal spiral arms, weak bars, and tidal features not previously visible in SDSS imaging. To best exploit the greater depth of DECaLS images, volunteers select from a new set of answers designed to improve our sensitivity to mergers and bars. Galaxy Zoo volunteers provide 7.5 million individual classifications over 314 000 galaxies. 140 000 galaxies receive at least 30 classifications, sufficient to accurately measure detailed morphology like bars, and the remainder receive approximately 5. All classifications are used to train an ensemble of Bayesian convolutional neural networks (a state-of-the-art deep learning method) to predict posteriors for the detailed morphology of all 314 000 galaxies. We use active learning to focus our volunteer effort on the galaxies which, if labelled, would be most informative for training our ensemble. When measured against confident volunteer classifications, the trained networks are approximately 99 per cent accurate on every question. Morphology is a fundamental feature of every galaxy; our human and machine classifications are an accurate and detailed resource for understanding how galaxies evolve.
  3. CitSci.org is a global citizen science software platform and support organization housed at Colorado State University. The mission of CitSci is to help people do high quality citizen science by amplifying impacts and outcomes. This platform hosts over one thousand projects and a diverse volunteer base that has amassed over one million observations of the natural world, focused on biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability. It is a custom platform built using open source components including: PostgreSQL, Symfony, Vue.js, with React Native for the mobile apps. CitSci sets itself apart from other Citizen Science platforms through the flexibility in the types of projects it supports rather than having a singular focus. This flexibility allows projects to define their own datasheets and methodologies. The diversity of programs we host motivated us to take a founding role in the design of the PPSR Core, a set of global, transdisciplinary data and metadata standards for use in Public Participation in Scientific Research (Citizen Science) projects. Through an international partnership between the Citizen Science Association, European Citizen Science Association, and Australian Citizen Science Association, the PPSR team and associated standards enable interoperability of citizen science projects, datasets, and observations. Here we share our experience over themore »past 10+ years of supporting biodiversity research both as developers of the CitSci.org platform and as stewards of, and contributors to, the PPSR Core standard. Specifically, we share details about: the origin, development, and informatics infrastructure for CitSci our support for biodiversity projects such as population and community surveys our experiences in platform interoperability through PPSR Core working with the Zooniverse, SciStarter, and CyberTracker data quality data sharing goals and use cases. the origin, development, and informatics infrastructure for CitSci our support for biodiversity projects such as population and community surveys our experiences in platform interoperability through PPSR Core working with the Zooniverse, SciStarter, and CyberTracker data quality data sharing goals and use cases. We conclude by sharing overall successes, limitations, and recommendations as they pertain to trust and rigor in citizen science data sharing and interoperability. As the scientific community moves forward, we show that Citizen Science is a key tool to enabling a systems-based approach to ecosystem problems.« less
  4. Camera traps - remote cameras that capture images of passing wildlife - have become a ubiquitous tool in ecology and conservation. Systematic camera trap surveys generate ‘Big Data’ across broad spatial and temporal scales, providing valuable information on environmental and anthropogenic factors affecting vulnerable wildlife populations. However, the sheer number of images amassed can quickly outpace researchers’ ability to manually extract data from these images (e.g., species identities, counts, and behaviors) in timeframes useful for making scientifically-guided conservation and management decisions. Here, we present ‘Snapshot Safari’ as a case study for merging citizen science and machine learning to rapidly generate highly accurate ecological Big Data from camera trap surveys. Snapshot Safari is a collaborative cross-continental research and conservation effort with 1500+ cameras deployed at over 40 eastern and southern Africa protected areas, generating millions of images per year. As one of the first and largest-scale camera trapping initiatives, Snapshot Safari spearheaded innovative developments in citizen science and machine learning. We highlight the advances made and discuss the issues that arose using each of these methods to annotate camera trap data. We end by describing how we combined human and machine classification methods (‘Crowd AI’) to create an efficient integrated datamore »pipeline. Ultimately, by using a feedback loop in which humans validate machine learning predictions and machine learning algorithms are iteratively retrained on new human classifications, we can capitalize on the strengths of both methods of classification while mitigating the weaknesses. Using Crowd AI to quickly and accurately ‘unlock’ ecological Big Data for use in science and conservation is revolutionizing the way we take on critical environmental issues in the Anthropocene era.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We report on the discovery and validation of a two-planet system around a bright (V  = 8.85 mag) early G dwarf (1.43  R⊙, 1.15  M⊙, TOI 2319) using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Three transit events from two planets were detected by citizen scientists in the month-long TESS light curve (sector 25), as part of the Planet Hunters TESS project. Modelling of the transits yields an orbital period of $11.6264 _{ - 0.0025 } ^ { + 0.0022 }$ d and radius of $3.41 _{ - 0.12 } ^ { + 0.14 }$ R⊕ for the inner planet, and a period in the range 19.26–35 d and a radius of $5.83 _{ - 0.14 } ^ { + 0.14 }$ R⊕ for the outer planet, which was only seen to transit once. Each signal was independently statistically validated, taking into consideration the TESS light curve as well as the ground-based spectroscopic follow-up observations. Radial velocities from HARPS-N and EXPRES yield a tentative detection of planet b, whose mass we estimate to be $11.56 _{ - 6.14 } ^ { + 6.58 }$ M⊕, and allow us to place an upper limit of 27.5 M⊕ (99 per cent confidence) on the mass of planet c. Due to the brightness ofmore »the host star and the strong likelihood of an extended H/He atmosphere on both planets, this system offers excellent prospects for atmospheric characterization and comparative planetology.« less
  6. Abstract We present the results from the first two years of the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project, which identifies planet candidates in the TESS data by engaging members of the general public. Over 22,000 citizen scientists from around the world visually inspected the first 26 Sectors of TESS data in order to help identify transit-like signals. We use a clustering algorithm to combine these classifications into a ranked list of events for each sector, the top 500 of which are then visually vetted by the science team. We assess the detection efficiency of this methodology by comparing our results to the list of TESS Objects of Interest (TOIs) and show that we recover 85 % of the TOIs with radii greater than 4 ⊕ and 51 % of those with radii between 3 and 4 R⊕. Additionally, we present our 90 most promising planet candidates that had not previously been identified by other teams, 73 of which exhibit only a single transit event in the TESS light curve, and outline our efforts to follow these candidates up using ground-based observatories. Finally, we present noteworthy stellar systems that were identified through the Planet Hunters TESS project.
  7. Citizen science has proved to be a unique and effective tool in helping science and society cope with the ever-growing data rates and volumes that characterize the modern research landscape. It also serves a critical role in engaging the public with research in a direct, authentic fashion and by doing so promotes a better understanding of the processes of science. To take full advantage of the onslaught of data being experienced across the disciplines, it is essential that citizen science platforms leverage the complementary strengths of humans and machines. ThisPerspectivespiece explores the issues encountered in designing human–machine systems optimized for both efficiency and volunteer engagement, while striving to safeguard and encourage opportunities for serendipitous discovery. We discuss case studies from Zooniverse, a large online citizen science platform, and show that combining human and machine classifications can efficiently produce results superior to those of either one alone and how smart task allocation can lead to further efficiencies in the system. While these examples make clear the promise of human–machine integration within an online citizen science system, we then explore in detail how system design choices can inadvertently lower volunteer engagement, create exclusionary practices, and reduce opportunity for serendipitous discovery. Throughout wemore »investigate the tensions that arise when designing a human–machine system serving the dual goals of carrying out research in the most efficient manner possible while empowering a broad community to authentically engage in this research.

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