Online Evaluation of Tail Project Boosting in Citizen Science

Amit Sultan, Avi Segal, Guy Shani, Darlene Cavalier, Kobi Gal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In citizen science, regular people provide invaluable information by contributing to scientific projects. Citizen science platforms, such as SciStarter, provide easy access to numerous such projects. Often, users contribute mainly to a relatively small set of popular projects, while it is difficult for many projects to draw the attention of users. Thus, increasing the contribution of users to such low-popularity projects may increase scientific and societal impact. In this paper, we explore the power of a recommender system to draw attention to less popular projects. Standard use of recommendation systems often leads to limited exposure of less popular (tail) projects. We thus propose a re-ranking approach based on 'lift boosting,' which uses the statistical lift measure to enhance the exposure of tail projects. By combining lift and traditional relevance measures, our method re-ranks the recommendation list to emphasize projects that are both relevant to the user while also have a high lift value. We implement our approach on SciStarter, one of the biggest citizen science platforms on the web. We conduct an online experiment involving over 2000 real users. Our results show a positive shift towards less popular projects without compromising overall contribution rates. This work demonstrates the potential of our lift-boosting method for promoting the discovery of tail projects in citizen science platforms, thereby fostering a more diverse range of scientific contributions.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationECAI 2023 - 26th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, including 12th Conference on Prestigious Applications of Intelligent Systems, PAIS 2023 - Proceedings
EditorsKobi Gal, Ann Nowe, Grzegorz J. Nalepa, Roy Fairstein, Roxana Radulescu
PublisherIOS Press BV
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781643684369
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2023
Event26th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, ECAI 2023 - Krakow, Poland
Duration: 30 Sep 20234 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications


Conference26th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence, ECAI 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence


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