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NPD 1090.2
Effective Date: January 28, 2021
Expiration Date: January 28, 2026
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Citizen Science

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Scientist


a. It is NASA's policy:

(1) To encourage the use of citizen science activities to further the Agency's scientific goals at all levels of the NASA organization.

(2) That all NASA citizen science projects shall be designed and implemented to:

(a) Meet the same rigorous standards as any NASA science program

(b) Have goals that include advances in science, the merit of which will be determined by peer review.

(c) Contribute to building a scientifically-empowered nation by:

i. Providing opportunities for citizen scientists to learn and contribute to science and scientific initiatives and discoveries;

ii. Encouraging and support volunteers who can benefit NASA via their expertise;

iii. Leveraging, engaging, supporting, and leading citizen science communities or other enthusiasts for a variety of projects; and

iv. Connecting citizen scientists with professional scientists who provide role models and mentorship.

(3) To use all available legal authorities to conduct citizen science activities.

(4) To develop and maintain Agency-level strategy, best practices, and effective implementation guidance for NASA citizen science as a whole, including processes for NASA awareness of citizen science activities across the Agency, and to ensure that NASA's citizen science activities are non- duplicative and pursued in a consistent and efficient manner.

(5) To report required NASA citizen science activities to ensure timely and accurate external performance reporting.

b. The American Innovation and Competitiveness Act (P.L. No. 114-329) states that Congress has allowed Federal agencies the appropriate use of crowdsourcing and citizen science to advance Federal science agency missions and stimulate and facilitate broader public participation in the innovation process for the benefit of Federal Government and citizens who participate.

c. The Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2016 (15 USC 3724) states:

(1) CITIZEN SCIENCE.—The term "citizen science" means a form of open collaboration in which individuals or organizations participate in the scientific process in various ways, including—

(a) enabling the formulation of research questions;

(b) creating and refining project design;

(c) conducting scientific experiments;

(d) collecting and analyzing data;

(e) interpreting the results of data;

(f) developing technologies and applications;

(g) making discoveries; and

(h) solving problems.

(2) CROWDSOURCING.—The term "crowdsourcing" means a method to obtain needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting voluntary contributions from a group of individuals or organizations, especially from an online community.


a. This NPD applies to NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers. This language applies to JPL (a Federally Funded Research and Development Center), other contractors, grant recipients, or parties to agreements only to the extent specified or referenced in the appropriate contracts, grants, or agreements.

b. This policy does not apply to challenges, grand challenges, prize competitions, or other crowdsourcing activities except when those activities contribute to elements of a citizen science project.

c. In this NPD, all mandatory actions (i.e., requirements) are denoted by statements containing the term "shall." The terms "may" or "can" denote discretionary privilege or permission, "should" denotes a good practice and is recommended, but not required, "will" denotes expected outcome, and "are or is" denote descriptive material.

d. In this NPD, all document citations are assumed to be the latest version unless otherwise noted.


a. Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, 15 U.S.C. § 3701, et seq.

b. Federal Grant and Cooperative agreement act, 31 U.S.C. § 6301, et seq.

c. The National Aeronautics and Space Act, 51 U.S.C. § 20101, et seq.

d. Paperwork Reduction Act, Pub. L. 104-13 (1995).

e. American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, Pub. L.114-329,130 Stat.3019 §402 (2016).

f. Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2016, 15 USC 3724.




a. The Chief Scientist shall:

(1) Provide leadership, coordination, and Agency-level strategy for Agency citizen science activities as a whole.

(2) Develop and maintain policy direction, implementation guidance, and reporting requirements for Agency citizen science activities as a whole.

(3) Work with the Associate Administrators from all mission directorates to encourage participation in and support of the agency's citizen science program.

(4) Reserve the ability to review Agency-wide requested citizen science funds in the annual budget request to ensure consistency with statutory and other external requirements.

(5) Work with the Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate to leverage and promote citizen science along with challenges, prize competitions, and crowdsourcing activities as appropriate.

(6) Report externally on NASA citizen science as required by Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, and other external bodies. In coordination with the Associate Administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate, report on citizen science and crowdsourcing activities in support of the biennial report to Congress required under Public Law Number 114-329.

b. The Mission Directorate Associate Administrators, the Officials-in- Charge of Headquarters Offices, and the Directors of NASA Centers, or their designees shall be responsible for the coordination, design, scientific review, implementation, measurement and internal reporting of NASA citizen science activities.




Compliance will be measured through the reporting activities as described in this policy.



/s/Stephen G. Jurczyk
Administrator (Acting)


A.1 The Science Mission Directorate Policy on Citizen Science (SMD Policy Document SPD-33): https://smd-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/science-pink/s3fs- public/atoms/files/SPD%2033%20Citizen%20Science.pdf.

A.2 NASA Policy Directive 1090.1: Challenges, Prize Competitions and Crowdsourcing Activities.

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This document does not bind the public, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. This document is uncontrolled when printed. Check the NASA Online Directives Information System (NODIS) Library to verify that this is the correct version before use: https://nodis3.gsfc.nasa.gov.