Citizen Sky at a Glance - Part the Deuce: Collaboration
Science isn't done in a vacuum. In addition to the famous "standing on the shoulder of giants" analogy, science is also collaborative. This is becoming even more so as scientists specialize in narrower fields and the Internet makes communication much more efficient. My latest paper in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific had 22 coauthors! There are many different phases of this project and each takes a different skill set. Some people can do it all alone, but most people will want to share the load with others.
A core feature of Citizen Sky is the development and support of teams of participants. Each team will have a team leader, a professional assigned to act as an advisor and a goal. Each team will be given a private discussion forum and wiki to use for working together. This idea is based on our experience at the AAVSO where teams of amateurs and professional astronomers have created truly awesome products (such as VSX) and scientific databases (such as VSD).
Teams can be formed on their own or the Citizen Sky staff can help those looking for teams. The best teams will have members of complimentary skill sets. For example, one person may be a good writer and another good with math. Together everyone works towards a common goal.
An ultimate goal of a team could be the writing of a paper describing their results. Our second workshop will be focused on how to do data analysis and write papers. And a special issue of the Journal of the AAVSO will be dedicated to science papers written by participants (and peer-reviewed by professional astronomers). However, you do not need to write a scientific research paper. Papers intended for education and/or public outreach are also highly valued and we will have tutorials to help teams do that as well. Finally, goals need not be papers at all. It can be a software program to analyze data or a YouTube video animating a model of epsilon Aurigae (or one of the other nine stars in our 10 Star Tutorial).
Expect much more to come soon about this concept as we build out the web site over the coming months. In the meantime, be thinking about what you'd like your team goal to be.