We’re so glad you’re here, thanks for your interest in getting involved with Public Lab! 👋🏽 🎈
**Public Lab is an open community -- you're welcome to simply start contributing in a variety of ways.** Check out some examples of different ways to contribute below and get started with any that interest you. Whether you’re looking to connect with people at public events, ask or answer questions, develop and test tools or software for environmental research, or write about community science, there’s something for everyone! 🙋🏽 By contributing to the Public Lab community, you’ll be building shared knowledge on environmental issues and the ways that we can address them together.
Please read and follow Public Lab’s **[Code of Conduct](https://publiclab.org/conduct), which ensures a respectful space for everyone** 💚
_Lead image: Balloon mapping at the Texas Barnraising, photo by @zengirl2_
On this page:
Getting started with contributing and then getting more involved with the community
Contributing to software & code
Contributing to hardware
Make the case for community science
Benefits of contributing
Using the Public Lab website
Related resources on Public Lab
Questions & contact
## Getting started with contributing
If you’re new to Public Lab, here are some first activities to try:
🙋🏽 Sign up
🔍 Find & follow topics
👋🏼 Come to an event
🔬 Get & build a kit
❓ Ask or answer a question
📝 Make your first post
💬 Join the conversation
📍 Gather locally
💻 Work on software & code
If you haven’t signed up at PublicLab.org yet, sign up for a free account here!
Find environmental topics that interest you and follow topic tags to keep up-to-date with new posts
Meet people at public events. Drop into an Open Call and talk with someone about your interests and ways to get involved
Get hands-on with hardware and accessible tools for community science by getting a kit from the Public Lab store. Kits are designed and supported by members of the Public Lab community. Learn more about hardware and the Kits Initiative further down on this page.
Ask a question on PublicLab.org and reach out for collaborators, or help answer questions that others have asked.If you want to be notified when someone asks a question under a particular topic, you can follow tags like question:air-quality, question:infragram, or any tag with the format question:insert-topic-here.For more information on how to post a question or help with answering them, visit About Public Lab’s Questions & Answers.
Visit the wiki page on first-time posters to learn more about posting on PublicLab.org
We'd love to hear from you!Leave a comment on posted research notes and activities on PublicLab.org, providing feedback or encouragement!Visit the Public Lab chat room.Connect with us on social media! Public Lab is on Twitter (English, Spanish), Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Get a few folks together, go outside, and look around!Try out a community science kit together. Reach out to local organizations and see what environmental questions they’re investigating. Connect with or organize a local group to examine environmental, social, and other issues together.
Interested in software and coding? You can contribute to that, too!
## Getting more involved with the community
And here are some ways to further engage and contribute to the Public Lab community. **Any of these activities are great for a group!** 😀 Doing this together can make the work easier and more fun. Find [resources on organizing group events here](https://publiclab.org/tag/event-how-to) or reach out if you have questions!
🪁 Try or create an activity
📓 Share your work
✏️ Document or compare methods
⚙️ Develop methods & hardware
💁🏽 Host an event
🤝🏽 Build the network
🌍 Translate resources
Try out a posted activity and comment to share back how it went. You can find some getting-started activities spanning different topics here. Or create a step-by-step activity for a method that others can try.
Post a research note to describe your work and interests in community science
Improve documentation on methods for community science by creating tutorials or diagrams, editing wikis, or commenting on associated activities. Or analyze and compare methods and tools for investigating an environmental topic and post a research note with your findings (example here).
Enjoy building, making, tinkering, or open hardware? You can also develop and improve methods and hardware for community science
Host an event! You could present a live build or demonstration of your favorite piece of open science hardware, or share your lived or learned experience with environmental advocacy as a guest speaker
Network with research, policy, and legal institutions to bring more support to community science issues and projects
Translate Public Lab resources into other languages
## Contributing to software and code
A wonderful community of coders and developers contribute to Public Lab everyday by supporting our website infrastructure and open source software programs. Check out the links below if you’d like to get involved, newcomers are welcome and encouraged to join!
+ Learn more at the Public Lab code community welcome page here: [https://code.publiclab.org/](https://code.publiclab.org/)
+ Visit the Public Lab [chat](https://publiclab.org/chat) room and see who's currently also online.
+ Check out some of the software that Public Lab maintains: [MapKnitter](https://mapknitter.org/), [Infragram](https://infragram.org/), and [Spectral Workbench](https://spectralworkbench.org/). See more about software and developers here: https://publiclab.org/wiki/developers
## Contributing to hardware
Some of the activities listed above involve testing and documenting methods and tools for community science, but there’s _much more_ you can do!
+ Our Community Kits program is designed to support the creation of new tools, kits, and resources by inviting designers, developers, researchers, tinkerers, community organizers, inventors (and anyone else who is interested) to consider working with the [Public Lab Kits Initiative](https://publiclab.org/wiki/kits) to develop, produce, and distribute your open source research tools!
+ Have you purchased a kit from the Public Lab store? You can help improve the kit by sharing on PublicLab.org: How did the assembly go? How have you used the kit? Do you have any ideas for improvements? Did you use any Public Lab software to collect or analyze data from your kit?
## For educators
If you’re an educator or someone who works with schools, universities, or public workshops, there are some additional ways to get involved with Public Lab.
+ Adopt and add to [curriculum listed on the Education wiki](https://publiclab.org/wiki/education#Try+These+Lessons+in+Your+Classroom+and+Share+Your+Experience).
+ Share any curriculum you’ve made that uses or is inspired by activities on Public Lab.
## Make the case for community science
Do you have a knack for writing or fundraising? Help spread the word about community science and build more capacity for it by co-authoring papers and grants.
+ Write [articles and papers](https://publiclab.org/media) (in research journals, newspaper op-eds, magazines, etc.) with other community members.
+ Co-author grants for funding research and for working with specific communities.
## Benefits of contributing
✔️ By answering questions, commenting on research, improving information on community science methods, or offering insights on advocacy strategies, you’ll be supporting communities investigating local environmental issues;
✔️ Build a body of public research online and receive credit for your work. Your profile page will feature all your work on Public Lab;
✔️ Enable others to learn from your findings, progress, and challenges. Sharing what didn’t work is as helpful as sharing what did work;
✔️ Receive feedback on your research;
✔️ Find collaborators for research;
✔️ Build and apply skills and knowledge of interest to you: writing, documentation, building and making, law and policy, and much more!
✔️ Participate in any way you can, as much or as little as you’re able. All of it matters!
✔️ Find community with other people that care about environmental health and justice.
## Resources on using the Public Lab website
+ Website basics: [https://publiclab.org/wiki/website-basics](https://publiclab.org/wiki/website-basics)
+ How to use and improve this website: [https://publiclab.org/wiki/website](https://publiclab.org/wiki/website)
More to come!
## Resources related to contributing on Public Lab
## Questions? Want to learn more?
Looking for more help? Or interested in a more formal collaboration? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
## Thank you!
We hope you’ll join the Public Lab community in creating shared knowledge together! ❤️💡