The Citizen Science (CS) Solution Kit

A collection of open source digital tools made available to create and manage crowdsourcing projects for social and environmental challenges.

Crowdsourced data can help tackle the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Open Seventeen participants as well as any other students and citizens can use the tools shared here to develop, test and run their SDG-related crowdsourcing project.


The Kit comprises tools adapted from existing Open Source solutions, that can support a wide range of crowdsourcing projects for the SDGs, ranging from crowd-based data collection and classification to distributed volunteer computing to project design and community mapping tools


Open Seventeen gathers a host of solutions in one place and provides pedagogical support to first-time users. The tools are designed to be able to quickly build and test a crowdsourcing solution for the SDGs, ideally without coding skills.

The CS Solution Kit has been developed by Citizen Cyberlab in Geneva and the Citizen Science Center Zurich, with the partial support of the Boninchi Foundation.

Find out more! Below are short descriptions of the CS Solution Kit tools. Contact us if you have questions or suggestions to us for improving and expanding the functionality and scope of the Kit.

Crowd Thinking with Citizen Science Project Builder

The Citizen Science Project Builder (CS PB) is a web-based tool that allows volunteers to collaborate on solving complex data classification tasks that automatic tools cannot handle. It supports projects where citizens can analyze or enrich existing data, typically large sets of images or texts, such as satellite pictures or social media posts, as well as other media formats such as videos and scanned documents.

The point of the PB is to enable people to create such projects with limited technical knowledge of crowdsourcing, and ideally little or no coding skills. The web interface is based on Crowdcrafting, a project launched in 2011 by Citizen Cyberlab, which with its underlying PyBossa software was spun out as part of SciFabric. The CS PB will be launched in early 2020. The software will be made publicly available under the ‘CitizenScienceCenter’ organisation on Github.

The first instance of the Citizen Science Project Builder platform is under development at the Citizen Science Center Zurich. It will allow scientists and citizens to create their own projects.

Crowd Sensing with SDG Kobo

SDG Kobo is a data collection system that enables the easy creation of mobile phone apps for collecting data. Typical use of such apps includes taking geo-located images and adding additional information (such as selecting keywords about the image, or answering related questions). Images are then automatically uploaded on a centrally-maintained database when internet connection is available.

The smartphone application and related dashboard for the creation of smartphone projects is a customization of Kobo, the open system initially conceived by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative for data collection in challenging environments.

A first implementation of SDG Kobo, deployed by Citizen Cyberlab, features the Kobo interface connected to the CS Solution Kit API to allow data storage and seamless use with Crowd4SDG. Future implementation will focus on simplifying access to the functionalities more commonly used in Citizen Science applications.

Crowd Computing – SDG@Home

SDG@home allows volunteers to donate computational resources from their desktop computers, laptops and smartphones, for running SDG-related simulations and machine learning algorithms. Based on BOINC, an open-source middleware for distributed volunteer computing, the platform is hosted at CERN, a partner of Citizen Cyberlab, and takes advantage of the experience from the development and deployment undertaken by Citizen Cyberlab for different generations of CERN’s LHC@Home project, since 2004.

SDG@Home also benefits from the existing community of volunteers already providing thousands of CPU years of simulations to CERN researchers and other BOINC science projects.

Thanks to the established infrastructure and community, CERN can support additional applications for scientists who may have a high-throughput computing problem related to the SDGs.

Setting up a successful crowd computing project may not be easy for somebody without basic coding skills. Depending on the operating system required (Linux or Windows) the developer may need different kinds of support. SDG@home aims to offer tutorials and a wizard to enable rapid creation and deployment of crowd computing projects.

SDG in Progress – creating and documenting crowdsourcing projects

The SDG in Progress platform allows all innovators to document ongoing projects, or to get inspired by other people’s projects, re-use them or re-purpose them. The platform is based on Build in Progress, originally developed by MIT Media Lab. Compared to other documentation platforms (wikis, Github, etc.), SDG in Progress provides a highly visual overview of how a project was conceived, allowing for easy documentation of the sort of branching that naturally occurs in projects, where different options are explored.

The goal of SDG in Progress is to provide an open repository of SDG projects, many involving crowdsourcing and open data, where students and citizen scientists can share their results and inspire each other. The idea of SDG in Progress is to document creativity, while minimizing redundancy. Reinventing the wheel is not a problem, as long as you can improve it each time.

The SDG in Progress platform is active since 2017. Anybody can create projects on this platform and browse existing ones.


This CS map monitors online citizen science participation in Europe. It was developed by the University of Geneva for the DIToS EU project. For demonstration purposes, it currently includes information on volunteers activities from all projects active on the Zooniverse platform, the iNaturalist platform and volunteer computing projects related to LHC@home. Based on the open source data visualization plugin Kibana, the platform will in future allow participants of crowdsourcing projects to visualize the activity of the crowdsourcing project they are contributing to, while respecting the privacy of individual contributors.

The SDG Citizen Science Projects Map currently available allows different visualizations od the data. A video with instructions on the use of the dashboard is available on the DITOs website.

SDG Market

SDG Market is an initiative to motivate participation in crowdsourcing projects for the SDGs, while at the same time enforcing a robust consensus-based distributed peer-review mechanism. The current instantiation of SDG Market is as a Developers Market Application built on top of the GitHub coding platform. GitHub repositories can be listed as projects on SDG Market. Commits by developers earn tokens, which can be traded on a virtual market for tokens of other projects. Such market transactions aim reveal a crowdsourced value of projects. A future objective is to integrate SDG Market with SDG in Progress, so that more general SDG projects can be promoted this way.

SDG Market is currently in alpha development, with planned beta release in September 2019.