« Citizen science » describes the involvement of the general public in the quest for new scientific discoveries.
This breaks down the barrier between university-based academic studies and research conducted outside such institutions. Citizen science taps into huge creative potential for research, promotes acceptance and empowers citizens to evaluate research projects.
As a result of technical advances, more and more research-relevant data is being gathered by members of the public rather than by research laboratories, and more and more data is being made available to the public. This means academic research institutes can no longer monopolise the processes of collecting, accessing and interpreting data. Thanks to the growing use of technologies, patients now form digital networks of experts in their own illnesses, for instance. This enables them to initiate a dialogue with the scientists and to influence research.
Ally Science is building a community of pollen allergy sufferers, who are making an active contribution to allergy research by recording their symptoms. Once anonymised, evaluated and linked with environmental and geographical data, this data creates a treasure trove of information that will aid research, while also giving back to the community in the form of real-time evaluations.
The Ally Science community also lays the foundation for subsequent projects, which will grant participants an even more active role: The Ally Science app has been designed to address a variety of questions surrounding pollen allergies. For the second phase in 2019, the researchers will incorporate additional questions and, in so doing, will seek further input from the Ally Science community. Users who are interested in taking part in the project are requested to email the project team.