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Citizen Science: Does It Make Sense for Nutrition Communication?

Rowe, Sylvia MA; Alexander, Nick BA

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000180
Nutrition Communications

With the apparent success in recent years of citizen science (CS) projects in a variety of fields, the authors note the virtual absence of nutrition science in the current CS arena and explore the possibility of creating nutrition and other food-related CS projects. They argue that communicating such ventures might have beneficial effects on public understanding of nutrition/food science and on protecting the public from the misinformation too often promulgated in cyberspace. The article briefly summarizes the CS landscape and offers some modest suggestions for nutrition/food science projects that might lend themselves to a CS strategy. Finally, the authors discuss some of the communication challenges that might be encountered as nutrition science communicators enter this CS arena.

Sylvia Rowe, MA, is currently president of SR Strategy pursuing communications and issues management consulting on a broad range of health, nutrition, food safety, and risk issues. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Boston.

Nick Alexander, BA, is former senior media counselor for the IFIC Foundation, Washington, DC. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University and is a former network correspondent with ABC News. For more than the past decade, Mr Alexander has tracked and written about science communications issues and the evolving challenge to public acceptance of credible science.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence: Sylvia Rowe, MA, 1100 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 430, Washington, DC 20036-4120 (

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