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Who’s who within the Zoo – Liz Dowthwaite


In our Who’s who within the Zoo weblog sequence we introduce you to a few of the folks behind the Zooniverse.

On this version, meet Dr Liz Dowthwaite, who’s a Senior Analysis Fellow on the College of Nottingham, and long-term Zooniverse analysis collaborator

– Helen


Identify: Liz Dowthwaite

Location: College of Nottingham, UK

Inform us about your position inside the crew 

I’ve been working with the Zooniverse on and off for about 3 years. I don’t have an official Zooniverse job title, I’m a Senior Analysis Fellow in Reliable Autonomous Methods (https://www.tas.ac.uk) and Horizon Digital Economic system Analysis (https://www.horizon.ac.uk/) at Nottingham, and am fortunate sufficient to have the ability to spend a few of that point working with the Zoo crew. Nevertheless, I’ve been known as the ‘tame psychologist’! My work with the Zooniverse focuses on understanding how volunteer experiences will be enhanced to encourage continued participation and profit the volunteer.

What did you do in your life earlier than the Zooniverse?

Earlier than working with the Zooniverse I used to be doing the identical issues I do now! I did BSc Psychology and an MA in The Physique and Illustration on the College of Studying, UK. I additionally labored within the tutorial library there for 7 years as a library assistant receiving all of the shiny new books. I did my PhD in Digital and Inventive Economic system at Nottingham, within the Horizon CDT, studing on-line webcomic communities. I began as a Analysis Assistant in Horizon in 2016 while writing up my PhD, transferring on to Analysis Fellow once I graduated in 2018, and not too long ago gained a promotion to Senior Analysis Fellow.

What does your typical working day contain?

I’m a analysis psychologist based mostly in a pc science division, so I examine how folks work together with expertise. I principally make money working from home in a tiny village in Oxfordshire, being often interrupted by two cats who would swear they’ve by no means been fed of their lives. I journey as much as Nottingham about as soon as a month to see my PhD college students, and likewise to show postgrads about digital footprints, accountable analysis and innovation (RRI) and experimental design. In my day-to-day I work throughout a spread of multidisciplinary initiatives, for instance on-line moderation and end-to-end encryption, belief in expertise amongst folks with psychological well being difficulties, benchmarks for measuring belief, and on-line wellbeing. This entails a whole lot of on-line conferences with my colleagues across the nation, and plenty of time spent studying issues on the web! A few of that is managing and planning the initiatives, some is conducting analysis – I write and analyse a whole lot of questionnaires!

How would you describe the Zooniverse in a single sentence?

The Zooniverse is a pressure for good within the on-line world, permitting anybody wherever to make an actual distinction.

Inform us concerning the first Zooniverse venture you have been concerned with

I have a tendency to check the Zooniverse as a complete however I final 12 months I labored with a few of the crew at Science Scribbler: Placenta Profiles to assist them to know extra about their volunteers.

Of all of the discoveries made attainable by the Zooniverse, which for you has been essentially the most notable?

I discovered a Supernova! Does that rely?!

What’s been your most memorable Zooniverse expertise?

Once we run surveys with volunteers we regularly get some actually beautiful tales about what the Zooniverse actually means to folks, and I believe that’s actually fantastic. Our initiatives have related folks to their very own histories and cultures, and made impacts on their present lives, which is basically heartwarming and I like studying them.

What are your prime three citizen science initiatives? 

I don’t actually have a favorite, I prefer to play with a spread of initiatives. I are inclined to take pleasure in photographs and graphs essentially the most. I used to be fully hooked on the unique Muon Hunters, I saved all the photographs that appeared like smiley faces, and it was actually easy and fast and had an actual ‘only one extra’ vibe. I additionally love the College of Wyoming Raccoon Mission as a result of who doesn’t love trash pandas?

What recommendation would you give to a researcher contemplating making a Zooniverse venture?

Take into consideration how one can help and have interaction along with your volunteers past simply asking them to participate within the venture!

How can somebody who’s by no means contributed to a citizen science venture get began?

Simply get clicking! There actually is one thing to curiosity everybody on the Zooniverse – discover the venture pages and dive in. A lot of the initiatives have wonderful tutorials to get you began. Do not forget that it’s alright to get issues fallacious, many individuals classifying the identical issues results in a superb consensus and prime quality information. And if a venture isn’t for you, there’s certain to be one other one on the market that you simply’ll love.

When not at work, the place are we most probably to search out you?

On the web! But in addition studying the London Overview of Books, ingesting wine, or strolling within the lovely countryside round Oxfordshire – typically all of these without delay if we discover an superior nation pub! I’m additionally a eager prepare dinner (however not baker) and an especially eager eater, and a reluctant runner (partly attributable to the entire consuming)…


You possibly can hear extra from Liz on Twitter or on her weblog.



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