EMBO reports cover ExCiteS work

The full details on the ExCiteS blog, but this is a survey of citizen science across different disciplines and scales, which also cover the work of the Extreme Citizen Science group

Extreme Citizen Science blog

A new report from Adam Gristwood in the journal EMBO reports is covering the work of ExCiteS as part of a report on Science and Society. The report is available here https://www.embopress.org/doi/full/10.15252/embr.201948797 .

The section about ExCiteS opens with:

“Deep in the jungle

Some citizen science projects aim to engage fewer people, but at a deeper level of involvement. In the jungles of eastern and southern Cameroon, Muki Haklay, a geographer and a computer scientist, and Jerome Lewis, an anthropologist at University College London, UK, and their Extreme Citizen Science team work with the Baka, a community of hunter‐gatherers, to tackle illegal poaching of animals such as forest elephants, lowland gorillas and chimpanzees via a co‐developed app to monitor and report criminal activity. Data are then fed to the Zoological Society London, UK, where researchers and international law enforcement aim to understand how wildlife trafficking networks are operating. Anthropologists spend…

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Recording of a GEO6 Webinar – data and value knowledge creation

This is the recording of a webinar that was dedicated to chapters 3 and 25 of the Global Environment Outlook. It covers different sources of data, including citizen science and indigenous knowledge.

Presented by

• James Donovan, CEO, ADEC Innovations
• Charles Mwangi, Deputy Country Coordinator for the GLOBE Program in Kenya
• Jillian Campbell, Statistician, UN Environment

New paper: Participatory mapping and food‐centred justice in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya

The Urban Zoo project focused on the issues of transfer of disease from animals to humans, in particular in the context of Nairobi, Kenya. This is mostly a medical study, but through the involvement of UCL Development Planning Unit (DPU), issues of urban planning and urban studies were integrated.

The new paper “Participatory mapping and food‐centred justice in informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya” is based on the work of Dr Sohel Ahmed in Nairobi, and the use of participatory mapping methods (including balloon mapping) to understand the local context. It is written by an interdisciplinary team – including geography, urban planning, development, and medical research.

The paper has been published as Open Access in GEO, and you can find it here.

The abstract is

“Food vendors are pivotal in the local food system of most low‐income informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, despite being seen as an obstruction and as agents of disease and filth by city authorities. This paper explores the geography of these foodscapes – defined as public sites of food production and consumption – in selected low‐income settlements in Nairobi, focusing on the interaction of food vendors with their surrounding environment and infrastructure services. The research uses participatory geographic information system tools, including food mapping with mobile apps and high‐resolution community aerial views with balloon mapping, to capture and contextualise local knowledge. The community mappers collected data on 660 vendors from 18 villages in Kibera, Mathare, and Mukuru, and situated them on multi‐layered synoptic geographic overviews for each settlement. The resulting data on hazardous areas in relation to food spaces and infrastructure provision allowed local communities to prioritise areas for regular clean‐up activities and assisted advocacy to improve these places in cooperation with local authorities. These multiple visual representations of foodscapes make local food vendors, and the risks they face, visible for the first time. Reframing their “right to safe food and environment” from a social and environmental justice perspective allows local communities to put their experiences, knowledge, and challenges faced at the forefront of urban development planning, policy, and practice.”

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Notes: Focus on Open Science, Madrid

Notes for the workshop  “Open Science by Design: Practical Commitments for Implementation by (Young) Universities – New Indicators — FAIR Data — Citizen Science” this is part of the series “Focus on Open Science” and took place at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid on 8th July 2019.

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The opening was provided by Prof. Juan José Vaquero. Vice-President of Scientific Policy. Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. It is a relatively new university – 30 years old. There are networks of young universities in Europe. As a European university, they have to be an Open Science university – need the facilitate the systematic change of democratic and useful science that answer societal needs. They are following the LERU roadmap for culture change at the universities. They have a working group that works on the implementation of open science at the university. They see value in including in the workshop early career researchers so they learn about the integration of open science from the start.

Cecilia Cabello. Director of Open and International Science. FECYT (Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology). FECYT is 18 years in existence and act as an interface in as a science foundation. They strategic plan – increase the value of science – bringing science close to citizens, and increasing the value of open science. Citizens should appreciate science and participate in science – engaging in citizen science. The open science work on repositories, data, and dialogue with different actors across Spain that will make open science a reality: including the ministry, experts on legal issues, and links to the EC. It’s not an easy task – require national and international policy and need the laws and approaches from other places fit the Spanish context.

Dr. Tiberius Ignat. Director of Scientific Knowledge Services – this is the 17th workshop in the series across Europe. Open Science matters – there are two major concerns: nature, and society. Digital societies are becoming part of our life, and we have all sort of advantages – the costs of free. With the Surveillance Economy, we pay for free services by disclosing details on ourselves, and we are also manipulated with persuasive technologies. We need to provide a move to research integrity, to ensure that citizens are involved in shaping their future, to consider data, skills and education, scholarly communication, indicators and so on. There is a diversity of events across Europe. Open Science is not a big movement enough and needs to grow – we need a community for a chance to change something. There is also a LinkedIn group “Focus on Open Science”.

Dr Eva Méndez. Chair of the OSPP. Deputy vice-president for Research Policy. Open Science. UC3M. The focus on Open Science include 8 challenges, components or pillars – there is a need to consider the pillars that are not naturally linked: indicators, citizen science, and FAIR data. Between these pillars there are plenty of questions – should we assume all citizen science data be FAIR? Will the data provide indicators? etc.

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Dr Paul Ayris, Pro-Vice-Provost University College London, UK: Leading the change to Open Science in European Universities. Using UCL and network to learn about open science. Also looking at the LERU road maps and learn about different aspects. The LERU road map talks about the 8 pillars of open science. Focus on Future of Scholarly Communication, the European Open Science Cloud, and about Rewards. The roadmap of LERU launched in June 2018 and includes 41 recommendations on what a university needs to do and was signed by the rectors of these universities. Some of these recommendations evolved at UCL – a highly research-active university, so publishing is the lifeblood of the universities. There are open access calls in Plan S and statements from LERU. While there is a critique of Plan S, there is no rejection of open access in general. LERU rectors agree that open access is the way to go – rather than the messy and expensive current model. In the wake of Plan S, there is a need to ensure that academics are aware of OA compliance requirements. There is an OAI11 workshop in Geneva report that can be useful. At UCL this move to a Green OA repositories that already working. UCL established an alternative platform in 2015 with monographs and then evolved into journals – following academics demands and needs. After discussions with different people, setting UCL Press was a way to assist – an area that might fall over – it’s expensive, the number of books that are being sold is very small. Published 106 monographs with 2m downloads in 231 countries. The books are also shared on JSTOR and help in the download figures. Some of the most downloaded books is an output from the ERC project of Danny Miller in Anthropology with 320k downloads. A research monograph sells 200 worldwide, and the arts and humanities are concerned about the change to this model – in contrast, open access demonstrates that monograph publishing is easy and are providing huge readership. The scholars who involved in monograph publishing might be against Plan S but for OA. Dublin City University is the first to buy white label services from UCL Press. All outputs are branded as Dublin City Univesity Press – the download figures won them over.

Other research areas that are covered in the pillars: in research data, there is free of access and use or restricted use. UCL established a research data repository where academics can deposit data that is useful for reuse and it was launched in May. Data that is not sensitive is shared on a system that is based on Figshare. Authors in UCL Press will be able to store their data in this repository. There is a need to provide the tools and services to support academics in the movement to open science.

Finally, there is a need to support rewards and evaluation to academics. The Plan S implementation – we need a large, significant and determined consensus on new ways to evaluate research and researchers (Bernard Rentier of the University of Liege). He identified 23 criteria for a rounded evaluate. In the traditional way people pointing to journals as a mark of quality and success. In the new evaluation, the publications are seen as part of many other measures that are being assessed. There is also the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and the Leiden Manifesto that are being assessed at UCL. We follow the approach that not use numerical factors – e.g. Impact Factor and reduce papers for assessment which are then read. Use bibliometrics only as an adjunct to qualitative assessment and base assessment on a qualitative evaluation of an individual. The open science principles are also included in the career frameworks for researchers. Open Science principles are integrated into the framework of the academic promotion – it was accepted by UCL academic board.

LERU is committed to Open Science and Open Access, but doubtful if Plan S implementation – need to manage the costs and how to avoid escalation of costs out of control. The mechanisms for subscriptions to publishing are yet to be structured so it can be manageable for research-intensive universities.

Open Science is good for researchers. UCL see it as an opportunity, not a threat.

 

dsc_1919.jpgDr Rebecca Lawrence, F1000: Shifting the research assessment system to enable the adoption of open knowledge practices. Rebecca is managing the F1000 research and other initiatives that provide open access platforms for funders. The need to shift the academic evaluation approach to support open science/research. We mean different things by it – the OSPP have a definition (Figure above). The main barriers for open research but it is incredibly challenging to move towards it. The primary focus of the evaluation is the final scholarly outputs, its venue of publication, and ingrained from research to the researchers, to the institution (how league tables are being calculated). There isn’t enough support at ground level – on awareness and understanding: why it is good for them and how. There is also a lack of skillset – e.g. how to make your data FAIR? This is at all levels of researchers career. There is a collective action problem among stakeholders. There is also a lack of infrastructure and funding – to share a wide range of outputs, capturing and integrating metadata, things like the institution, ORCID, etc. There is also a broad range of indicators which are not being used.

To overcome the barriers, we need policies that are conflicting between organisations and funders. We need to provide a clearer about OA in terms of implementation – we need policies that are linked to implementations. We need tools and infrastructure that make it easy for the research community to act in an open research way. Need to maximising reporting and minimise duplication of effort by metadata and interoperability between system – not loading and replicating reporting. We need training, and we need to rethink rewards and incentives – without changing these, we won’t see a move. DORA has over 500 organisations with 12,500 individuals – but not a lot of implementation. DORA started recording good practices. For example, CRUK focus their assessment to 3-5 research achievement that put publications only at the end – not only top publications. FWF also ask for 10 most scholarly/scientific achievement. NIH asks for a clearer bio-sketchers. The University Medical Center in Utrecht involve people from access career stages to establish criteria.

The Open Science Policy Platform includes different stakeholders and provided a recommendation for next-generation metrics and indicators – less about journal and impact factors, to promoting discussion about the quality of the publication and on all sort of outputs. They need to assess and experiment with the validity of new indicators. The ORCID ID is a way to identify researchers, and providing bio-sketches is an area that is being explored. Need to pay attention to reward for encouraging ECRs to move towards open access. Need to provide public and easily accessible information about what is changing to communicate it to researchers. We need to change careers view – not just the narrowing down towards professorship as the ultimate goal of a research career. Ther

Paul Wouters points out that indicator frameworks can lead to unintended consequents or “steering effect” and be careful of tokenistic changes, but a deeper culture change. There are three levels – the scientific system as a whole and infrastructure for this, thinking about organisations, and individuals. There are different tools boxes – open knowledge infrastructure, open knowledge capabilities, capturing open knowledge practices – qualitative and case-studies, and individual level.

The OSPP recommend OS coordinators – to share best practices, to help consistencies. There are starting in the Netherlands, Finland and Ireland. The Dutch example is setting a national platform and different activities.  There is a need for both top-down and bottom-up efforts in making a change to open science. The OSPP next steps are working with the implementation initiatives, and coordinate different pilots – at stakeholders, and institutional level, national level, and in domain specific. Need to help with open evaluation and share successes and failures.

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Dr Daniel Hook, Digital Science: The Ascent of Open Access. Digital Science is tool providers to enable things that universities need to manage aspects of open science and science in general. Digital Science done a study of the ascent of digital science https://www.digital-science.com/blog/news/the-ascent-of-open-access-report/ – they analysed the situation in 2000 – you see in open access the strength of US, UK, and Japan. With time, you can see different strategies of adopting open access. By 2016, we can see China went from nowhere to being number 2 in the world, and 3 in Open Access. The UK maintained its global position through open access. Assessing the volume of material that is open access, we see the impacts of change. About third of outputs are now OA in 16 years. We can also see a change in citations – 60% of publications that are closed received 52% citations. Open Access Internationally Collaborative research lead to very high (proportionally) citations. At institutional levels – UCL, Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial are the top in open access, and then there is consistent sets: bands of engagement. The cultural nature of it is quite open. In the Spanish system, there is more homogenous adoption of OA.

We need to consider that we need to consider designing reproducibility but in terms of location, shutter speed, and all sort of context. When you log in with ORCID on a lab experiment that can link to context. We can think about capturing context automatically. It. We need layers beyond a publication: layers of data, experiment design, ethical approval. The presentation of research is disaggregated – we will have all sort of other aspects – automated metadata of narrative, links to data, details of peer-review, machine-readable narratives and we can think about a shift from publications to about processes. This is demonstrated in the Dimensions system of Digital Science. Trust is significant – we need to communicate the data is not simplistic.

 

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Ghislain Onestas, Ex Libris: Putting the library at the heart of research Covering the cloud provision of the company. They are considering the Schonfeld (the scholarly kitchen) workflow of the scientific process. We need to navigate the complexity of the research process. This creates complexities for researchers (e.g. dealing with funders and their needs) to libraries (e.g. embargo) and the research office (compliance with Plan S). So they want to offer a system that will make this easier to do on the cloud (Esploro system.

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Prof. Barend Mons, Director for the Dutch International Support and Coordination Office GO FAIR and President of CODATA: The Internet for Social Machines. Fair > The Machine Knows what I Mean. The FAIR principles were noted – they seem complicated to many people, so FAIR is about helping machines know what I mean. The point is to make machines capable of helping humans and that is because of the growth in data volume (e.g. in biomedical research). We need of internet for social machines – and people and machines can work effectively together. Articles will start having a minor role  (e.g. the seven sins of open science). First, need to think of problems – data that can be used is “re-useless”. FAIR is not a standard – it’s a guiding principle. Open (is not “free as beer”) don’t mix up, and it is expensive – accessible under well-defined conditions. We also need to stop talking about AI and consider it as machine learning – mostly stupid staff. We need to consider stewardship. We need to think about the use of the data for years to come beyond the research period. Data Sharing – instead of that we need to consider visiting – you don’t want to send petabyte, but to go and visit the data. The need for machine-readable data is “fully AI ready” – all about making life easy for machines. The FAIR started in 2014, and published in 2015 and GoFAIR initiative is developing the network under the FAIR principles – Internet of FAIR data and services IFDS. We need data (somewhere), tools (another place and compute ability (so the ability to take the tools, compute ability, and data that can be brought together. We can have distributed learning by VMs and it can learn things from subanalysis – we need a completely new approach for data and analysis. We need to be careful to manage data and metadata – we can record. Complexity is beyond human comprehension and across links between diabetes and Alzheimer and you can find quick links between research areas, filtering thousands of papers.

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Systems are evolving through a vision to the explosion, and then go through convergence – so is we have minimal standards, voluntary participation and critical mass. This way it can grow and develop a local version that suits local needs. The final collaboration is in Co-Data. There is a growing community of people who share tools and approaches and cross support, which mean the development of bottom-up standards and approaches. There is a growing investment in open data – pulling data infrastructure together will help. There is a need to be a system that supports research stewardships and digital competence centre in universities. Humanities also need to be included in FAIR and data stewardship problems are more complex across disciplines. Can consider the “digital twin” of any object – book, butterfly in GBIF etc. which asks questions. We loose 80% of the data within 2 years. We lose $10 billion a year because of the loss in access to data.

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Prof. Muki Haklay, Professor of Geographic Information Science at the Department of Geography, University College London (UCL): Citizen Science in Open Science context: measuring and understanding impacts of deeper public participation in science.

My talk started with an overview of citizen science in current practice. I’ve started by pointing to the rapid growth in recognition of citizen science in the past decade, and notice that even in the selective and conservative world of the type of publications that are indexed by Scopus we can see the rapid rise. The two critical trends behind it are the societal changes – an in particular rapid growth in higher education, and technological changes. I then progressed to review major citizen science activities, following the overview of Citizen Science for Earth Observations [5-15], using examples from France (Sauvages de ma rue), mentioning the Boinc effort of Ibercivis in Spain, and different H2020 projects – such as Geo-Wiki and its use in LandSense, or Odour Collect in D-NOSES. The next 3 slides [16-21] pointed to the way specific disciplinary practices and framing of scientific research play out in citizen science projects: from astrophysics to biomedicine and to geography and anthropology – each discipline shapes the projects that are called citizen science within its scope. We also end this part of the talk with a note to the different levels of participation [22]. The next part provides an overview of the policy and practice response [23-28] – the early response of the European Environment Agency, the creation of association at international levels and then at national levels, and the emergence of laws and regulations that explicitly mention citizen science. Following this, I’m pointing to the variety of practices in citizen science, and position it within the wider public engagement framework with the DITOs escalator while also pointing to the scale change in participation between different levels.

Based on this, I introduce the Austrian criteria for citizen science and explains what is wrong with it, and how it is unhelpful to evaluate the field [32]. I show that research demonstrates the multiple goals of citizen science and that each project will not fulfil all of them [33], that we learned about complex learning and creativity patterns [34], and that the logic model of a project like DITOs show complex paths for the public, policy makers, and scientists.  I then suggest how to progress carefully with evaluation, suggesting several potential models for funders to consider.

Summary of the day:

Need to consider a common alignment – the future and the direction of travel.

We have existing and emerging scientific publications, and information to modify and rewards systems and career progress.

Existing solutions to have research assets linked. There is a need for a change – but change implies efforts and can’t wait for “someone” to take action. Time is ripe to deal with a change – we’re asking for more money and we need it to be justified.

We need to move to multidisciplinarity – as expressed in the SDGs. We don’t have a system to address them.. need to more awareness dialogue, engagement and building trust. There is a need to build trust with researchers, funders, and the public. There is a need to create opportunities, provide better incentives, and lead to a change in culture.

The questions that were asked in the meeting are at https://app.sli.do/event/umcjyzql/live/questions

The Twitter stream https://twitter.com/search?q=%23os19mad&src=typed_query&f=live

 

Experiments outside the laboratory: Who should decide? (notes)

These are the notes from an event at UCL on 1st July 2019 part of Scaling (H2020 project) – innovations in Living Labs. The chair was Jack Stilgoe  – Associate Professor, Science and Technology Studies, University College London. The second part of it emerged from Tom Wakefield at the ETC group which is looking at early stages of technology development and hold groups into account. The ETC group is interested in technology that will profoundly change the relationships of the public with experiments. The object of interest for ETC is ecosystems themselves and having unintended consequences. Consent and legitimacy are at the centre, with GM mosquitos modified to address malaria through gene drive.

We look at a film that is addressing gene drive (above) – in particular, the proposed testing of gene drive mosquitoes and the upcoming release of genetically modified mosquitoes by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Target Malaria project in Burkina Faso. The film “a question of consent – about Burkina Faso experiments with mosquitos in Target Malaria experiment with a gene drive with to eradicate the mosquito through gene transformation. There was permission to release GMO mosquitos to the wild. There is an experience with the failure of GMO cotton. Target Malaria is stating that they work with the local agency and care about the health and environmental consent. People ask questions about what will come after the eradication – which insects will thrive and what will they do?  Local people are stating that they are not informed or that consent was asked from them. People are not aware that the project is the first gene drive example in the world.

Zahra Moloo – independent researcher and director of the film “A Question of Consent: Exterminator Mosquitoes in Burkina Faso”. The background to the film – the issue has been in the media for a while, and she’s working for the ETC group and therefore the context is as a journalist and as part of the group, trying to see what people at Burkina Faso to know what the local people know. Most journalists were taken to the place with the project people. They went in October 2018, and there was also a GMO demonstration – on the ground, there are people who are telling a different story. Today, some GMO drive mosquitos will be released and they say that they obtained consent in the village Bana and the film shows that this is not the case. The release today is GMO male mosquitos, but not gene drive. There are open issues of consent and who should decide.

Lim Li Ching – Senior Researcher, Third World Network. The first point is that it is not only about gene drive, but many other examples of application – e.g. using GMO viruses to crop and other mechanisms, can lead to unexpected biodiversity impacts. Gene drive is deliberate ways to influence wild populations and eradicate species potentially. It’s a new power of humans. This raises legal and moral questions for society. Who should decide and choose which species are expandable and can be removed? The international community – the parties of the treaty on biodiversity decided that any environmental releases that can impact local communities and indigenous people, then a free, prior and informed consent is required. It’s a very involved process – the FPIC process is based on rights for self-determination – the right to be consulted, the right to participation, and the right for land and resources. That is based on the rights of indigenous people. Need to respect the decision making the process of the processes. The process has been integrated into any intervention that influences indigenous people, their environment, and resources. The process of consultation is as important as achieving FPIC. There are many examples of not carrying out the process properly. There is also the right of redress – who is allowed to do it? It’s a serious exercise and project proponents should demonstrate.

Brice Laurent – Centre de Sociologie de l’Innovation, ParisTech (formerly Paris School of Mines). The example is an extreme example of carrying out a policy through experiments – a version of evidence-based policy, being responsible with public money. Experiments are presented as collaborative and participatory. The example is not to take it for granted, and to consider how to make policy decisions through experiments – e.g. RCTs that are a basis for policy. In contrast, the experiments of electric scooters in cities, which are released as something new to test the regulatory framework. it is important to test collective decisions through these experiments. The problem: the boundary is not clear when people are entities that collect data but don’t know that they are collecting data for companies and experiments with technologies. The second reasons not to take for granted is about the expected benefits – e-scooters: the investors are the one that will benefit, this is an economy that provides the investor. So who benefits from the experiment? Who benefits? Most autonomous cars experiments can be about other things – e.g. using sensors in order to learn about them and use them in another context. It’s not clear who should be impacted. With experiments – it is another political philosophy about the rule of the state, when we do intentional irreversibility we restrict political choices in the future. Politics of acceptance – how to create new testing grounds, changing regulatory frameworks.

Lim/Zahra – in some cases, specific consent of the individual is not possible. It depends on consent. It should be a process of dialogue and not just a simple consent for one activity. Consent is not a yes/no. Need to think who push the study and why. Some people from the Target Malaria who were invited to public debate didn’t come. Do you know where the money comes from? Are there alternatives?

Brice – consent is thought as a single person and as a one-time event, and it doesn’t consider groups and communities.  How to identify the communities and who should be involved?

Q: experiments in the open – how do identify when it is an experiment? In many cases, we have a need to define when an action is an experiment? Another question is what constitutes the information that should be shared? Who should be consulted and how to decide how to include the difficulties of making these decisions? The gene drive is argued to be a way to open up acceptance to GMO.

Answers: Brice – the history of things being released over time, but there is a contemporary consent of conducting test and experiments, changing regulatory rules and seeing what they lead to. For example, creating sandboxes where removing constraints to allow people to experiments. There is colonial and postcolonial involvement. Li – there are moving from lab to the field, and the power of this technology, and the large scale ecosystem engineering. We don’t see the use of precautionary principles, and a tendency of technologies to move fast and a rush to use the technology. The race to innovate become a justification all by itself. People feel that that they haven’t been involved – more stakeholders engagement then consent.

There is something new, but we need to consider a collective consent – we rely on representatives to provide consent, but maybe we should ask which consent and which experiments we should allow? What is the role of government in it? The work needs to be done to get to the stage where people can ask for consent? What a trust-worthy process looks like? Incompetence and herd mentality are important factors to understand why things happen the way that they are going.

The opportunity to be innovative – we have existing agreements and we need to innovate around them and accept them and need to understand precaution when working with indigenous groups. When there isn’t a long tradition of consultation, especially with indigenous groups. Including more people in the decision-making process – we need to consider who needs to be included and who need to be convinced. If we want to apply the Precautionary Principle, we need to keep it in mind and make it operational.

NGOs and businesses – in terms of good/bad – GMO was supposed to feed the world, and what we get golden rice, which didn’t work too well. We can look at the power differentials between NGOs and corporate NGOs. There is an issue of accountability and NGOs.

 

 

 

Citizen Science @ Computational Foundry, Swansea, Festival of Ideas

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The Computational Foundry at the Swansea University organised two days “Festival of Ideas” as part of the activities to celebrate its opening. The first day was organised by Ben Shneiderman and focused on aspects of AI, while the second day, curated by Jenny Preece, focused on citizen science. The summary here is from the second day, which was open by Alan Dix, the Foundry director explaining that citizen science is providing new ways of understanding the social impact of data and technologies.

DSC_1716.JPGSetting the Scene: New Agendas, Broader Impacts (Professor Jenny Preece, University of Maryland).  The Computational Foundry considering how to integrate citizen science. There are opportunities for those who are coming from the science side, and the computational side – but there are tremendous opportunities for those in citizen science and Human-Computer Interaction in the field of citizen science. This is a day of action – a range of speakers on citizen science, from doing face to face – in the estuary and the field; but also an online platform on a large scale – the Zooniverse. We see also citizen science in an overseas environment, and in the context of education and public participation in science.

Jenny’s journey to citizen science came from interaction design and information studies. The aim is for interactions – new agendas research, practice, managing a local project. The broader impact – making an impact here in Swansea, but also on the wider world. We might develop a report of these new agendas and impacts. The aim is to develop a report for CSTP. Her personal journey – love the environment, and keen birders – and when NSF put out a call about social computing, she saw an opportunity to get into this area. Citizen science has a very long history within science but not within computing. In 2009, citizen science was defined by Rick Bonney and Jonathan Silvertown in papers at the time, which mostly about a partnership between scientists and volunteers to collect and analyse data. This has now shifted to a wider definition – from setting questions to producing output, and this wider understanding of citizen science is important to the way it is thought off. The work that she’s been doing recently, include small, place-based projects in NatureNet: technology for community environmental learning – see the video at videohall.com/p/963 and a paper in PNAS 2019. The project is addressing crowdsourcing – what are the special computational there? You are not using ML, drones, AI or any of this. The idea of crowdsourcing the design – that was something that made it different in terms of the NSF way to fund it. When started, the aim was to suggest design ideas of the things that they like and what they want to change. Very few design ideas came forward on a website that was set to allow participants, but there was an issue of confidence. They spend a lot of time to help small community groups to deal with watershed monitoring – the goal of the researchers was to have a preliminary map of local action projects.  In the participatory design process, the designers were thinking about a community of practice – but the participants thought that they are communicating with each other, so how to consider affinity network of ideas, and create a much more open software for sharing and communication, working together. Also, there is highly important local leadership – which can change over the lifetime of the project: from managing a team to dealing with technology. One of their participants, who is a plumber, noticed that in heavy rain events the rubbish is swept to the local river, and took his plumbing students to learn about water issues through citizen science. dsc_1717.jpgAnother project that is known in citizen science is eBird which includes amazing data visualisations of species distribution, migration and recently machine vision that is being used. The scale is from 2002 – but over 370m sighting of 10,313 species. Loads of opportunities for people in the visualisation area. iNaturalist is a social network with 20k observation a day, with 1.4m users, and aiming for 50M by 2020. There are many projects. SciStarter, and Wildlabs.net as a place for opportunities to computer scientists. Major issues – for scientists – enough data, trustworthy data, and long-term citizen participation.dsc_1718.jpg

For citizens – learning and contributing, but then they want to be acknowledged and valued. For computer scientists – it gives an opportunity to contribute to issues that are important: privacy, managing data. Some of the things that we can think of: people – how to diversify and involve more people? data quality; project management; technology and tools; values and ethics; and policies – have some real bite in different parts of the world. For Jenny – want to see leveraging the skills of HCI and citizen science to advance both, and use our knowledge to mitigate the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss. Alan Dix – the messiness of this data is putting challenges that are very valuable.

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DSC_1721.JPGCitizen Science in Swansea and the Gower Peninsular (Professor Geoff Proffitt  University of Swansea). Trained as a botanist and marine science. Worked in the Wetland Trust and set a nature reserve in Wales, and habitat restoration – digging holes and filling them with water. Worked in GCRF work in the Gambia, to carry out recording in people in estimating the carbon that is locked in the mangrove, as part of REDD++ funding and can lead to mangrove restoration.  Citizen science in Swansea – the type of work that is being carried out. e.g. Dan Forman works on Barn owl diet project – getting local active natural history groups and students who are examining the food and see the changes in the diet of owls. Military sites are acting as a nature reserve – e.g. in Castlemartin and that is evidence of the botany of the site. Another project is about coastal otter and diets – people are reporting on dead otters, siting of them alive, and got over 3500 records from across the UK. They are being restored and help in formulating coastal otter strategy for the UK. In the site of Cym Ivy, which is an area that is on by National Trust, there is a new salt marsh as a result of a breach in the sea wall. Since 2016, and collecting otter spraints and understanding diets – also use camera traps. Within a year there is a growing salt marsh with rapid changes. The National Trust are considering what they’ll do in other sites. They also running Bioblitzes in Swansea with 30-100 members of the public: it builds confidence, interest, and awareness. The Rosehill quarry in the centre of Swansea, it is being used as a site. There are also – Clearwing moths distribution – using traps that imitate the smell of a female and that attracts species. The information allows the recording of many observations. Another project is the Oriel Science and the Swansea Science Festival (7000 people attending). The Oriel Science is op up discovery events with a wide range of engagement across the sciences and engineering. Managing to reach out to people who are from areas that are usually not involved in science (high deprivation index). dsc_1723.jpgAnother researcher, Richard Unsworth, involved in marine aspects – seagrass project to record them and collect evidence globally. The Seagrass spotter includes 900 people in 64 countries that projects evidence with 2100 observation. There is evidence in different places. Projectseagrass.org and Seagrassspotter.org is allowing collecting and sharing data. The BTO also carry out data collection and there are projects in the area of Swansea. The university also has an SSSI nearby – Crymlyn Burrows.

Restoring habitats – there are lots of work that is inspired by it and the UN declare the next decade to focus on restoration. Logistics – recruiting people is through places where you meet people, link to existing networks, and helping to get volunteers through connections. It is challenging to get people involved in apps.

DSC_1724.JPGThe COASST Project (Professor Julia K. Parrish, Associate Dean, College of the Environment, University of Washington). COASST has been running for 19 years. Natural scientists – the science goes to scientific publications, and to decision making. We need to technology as a replacement of people, a way to play, a wall and disconnector. But let’s think of technology as an amplifier to connect to nature and community, it also can act as an extender of sense, patterns, and scale. Issues of Wellbeing, we need to extend from humans to Gaia – the planetary systems. Citizen Science is about science, community, education, and enjoyment. There are lots of goals of citizen science – she’s on the area of hand on. The usual view of science is about a process that starts with a hypothesis, then experiment, results and conclude – but there is the need to put in a discover of pattern and wonder before hypothesis and also bear witness. Coastal Observation focuses – monitoring dead bird. COASST – deconstruct science: evidence first, deduction second. Second Demystifying science – no jargon, explain the process. Using science – bear witness and take action. In the COASST programme there is a contract, to survey carcases of marine bird in a given area, collect the foot, standard measurements and digital information. Recording on paper is – because of economics, context (sun, water).

There is a process of identifying the bird according to the foot and other identifying. 950 monthly participants, 4700 people participate since inception. 33% of people are retired, and the economic means to be retired. Average age 51, 65% male. The training – only 50% of people that get into training know birds. As people collect more data they get better – over 70% accuracy and higher. There is also a seasonal pattern – after a year, most people know the about 85% get the correct answer. What are the high/low pattern over the year, and that is something that professional ornithologists don’t know and they develop a good concept of the yearly average,. Active people after a year – hands-on programmes retain people over a long time. With long term retention rates: asking new participants why they joined, and long term participants why they stayed. The new people are interested in birds, the environment. dsc_1731.jpgLong term is staying to be outdoor, to contribute to the science, and to the COASST programme. There is also an aspect of personal identity between new and long term participants. There are differences between people who are going alone and experience the data collection, and then there are people who are joining pairs – so they are going with multiple people (nexus person that goes with different people to the activities). We need to design for loners and for social connectors (nexus). The data provides a good understanding of yearly patterns. There are also die off events that happen and records. COASST help in climate impacts, harmful algal blooms, changes in predator distribution and much more. There is an ability to record a mass die-off event in St Paul Island. They back calculate how far carcasses will get to the beach and can estimate and model mortality, which was 60 to 70 times higher than normal. That led to Die-off alert, of just reporting people in Alaska – it’s a food source, and can’t collect eggs: important for local practices. DSC_1729.JPGThere are events of many events of the region – can see the large scale pattern over space and time. By looking at the temperature of above normal patterns and the heating in Alaska and you can see the impact of increased mortality of birds. There are impacts of science and people – impact on coastal communities in Alaska, and in Indian communities in Washington, and ocean acidification that harms mussels. Let’s think about technology as wellbeing: connect people to passion, creativity, allow people to learn, increase ownership and stewardship of the natural world, increase realization and help them to take action. Most people are curious, attached to a place, but a very small group of people want to become scientists – and people would fundraise for the project than the analysis, and they want to see the scientists doing the work. Not making everyone a scientist, but making everyone involved.

DSC_1733.JPGThe Wisdom of the online crowd – Citizen science with the Zooniverse (Dr. Helen Spiers, Biomedical Research Lead of the Zooniverse Platform,  Department of Astrophysics, University of Oxford). Coming from developmental epigenetics and started in 2016 and covering some of the work of the universe. Currently the development of mobile apps etc. Zooniverse started from the story of Big Data in many fields of science, and especially in astronomy – we need data curation and human pattern recognition. The story started with Galaxy Zoo. The algorithm of the time couldn’t provide morphological information of galaxies, as Kevin couldn’t calculate all the galaxies – but analysed 50,000 galaxies, and it became Galaxy Zoo. The project was successful – 70,000 classification per hours, but that allows to complete analysis in a matter of months instead of years. The data was of better quality than the expert could do – more eyes on each image. There are many scientific outputs from Galaxy Zoo, but also unknown unknowns – e.g. Hanny Voorwerp. That has moved into cells with electron microscopy (with Crick Institute). There is much data that need annotation – annotation tools that allow providing recognition of cell data. The volunteer data quality is as good as experts. This allows understanding the nuclei of different cells – it opens up the ability to new areas in biology. DSC_1734.JPGThe work of volunteers can form the basis for ML. 1.75m registered users, and projects across science, humanities, and supporting humanitarian efforts. The Zooniverse project builder allows the growth in the projects and supporting different types of source data and the types of activities that you can carry out with it. Challenges include the need to understand how to facilitate engagement and scientific efficiency and it provides an opportunity to learn across projects. Looked at the volunteers’ behaviour across 63 Zooniverse projects, but found out several things: artificial scarcity can be associated with engagement – in most projects that shows a peak at the start and then dropping to an activity. when the research team upload the data in each time when it was available on a weekly basis, it raised the interest in the project and provided multiple peaks. The lessons need to be learnt with caution. Some projects get into high participation inequality, and also age and gender bias and there is a tension between social inclusivity in contrast to scientific efficiency. There is a need to be inclusive in study design – e.g. a project about body organs and checking people anatomic knowledge – there was an aim to have a more inclusive reach. This is an unusual project: it’s about data collection and how it can be used in a different way. There is also exclusivity – specialised crowds can provide specific skills – when there are needed expertise or local knowledge, or maybe you want task naivety crowd. Zooniverse also offer a linkage between ML and human contribution. e.g. throwing images that are surely not relevant, and asking the crowd to classify only those that the computer wasn’t confident about. Algorithms and volunteers offer different behaviour. There is also a lot of value in algorithmic diversity – computers can also be used to create engaging tasks, but need to be careful about using it – removing images without anything, reduced engagement in the project (the Snapshot Safari example of removing all the blanks which reduced engagement). There is an ethical issue – are you wasting people time. The future of Zooniverse is about Human:Computer collaboration, need to have a smart subject assignment – allocating tasks and ensure an engaging experience and combining modes of citizen science – interoperable systems, giving feedback. The communities are changing – e.g. DSC_1735.JPGGalaxy Zoo is very proactive which meet offline, and there are questions about the nature and characteristics of communities. Don’t waste people time – the commitment is to ensure scientific efficiency and find other ways of engaging people in an interesting way. The issue of inclusivity – how is the Zooniverse management team gatekeep the community? there is a review process, and also sharing it with volunteers who are happy to review project application – 50,000 repeat volunteers, which are self-selected, who provide feedback and say if the project is suitable for the Zooniverse. Very few of the projects that are scientifically valid, failed. There was a project that was thrown out – about facial characteristics. There is a different review of scientific relevance.

Extreme Citizen Science Professor Muki Haklay, Professor of
Geographical Information Science and co-director of the Extreme Citizen
Science group, Department of Geography, UCL

DSC_1736.JPGCitizen Science Inquiry: Contemporary Approaches (Professor Eileen Scanlon, Open University) talking about citizen science enquiry – the nQuire team. Citizen science inquiry is the general approach to it. Eileen sees citizen science as a way to enthuse people in science and engage them. There is a lot of things that were talks: scientific literacy and wider STEM learning. Then there are issues of volunteers and how they are involved in data collection and analysis. From the point of history, citizen science goes back to the 17th C and been going for a long time. Modern citizen science provides new ways of engaging online – such as Zooniverse or iNaturalist. At the Open University, they’ve done nQuire-it, iSpot and Situ8 that is about annotating physical places.dsc_1737.jpg First, they look at the personal inquiry project – inquiry-based learning across formal and informal settings (www.pi-project.ac.uk). Was coming from an interest in digital technology and learning, and was focusing on 12-16 old, and were searching for outdoor settings that allow students to link to issues that are relevant to them and within their areas. Inquiry-based learning is appearing in the education literature, and scaffolding the process can help people to learn through inquiry. It can be used through different stages in the learning process. Personalisation is important, but you do need to have a limitation – e.g. you can’t work with teenagers about issues of their daily diet: sharing it with other people in their immediate social circle is problematic. In Milton Keynes and Northampton, they manage to engage students in the investigation of urban heat islands. The work is summarised in the book “orchestrating inquiry learning”. The work was developed within the formal approach. At the same time, work by Vickie Curtis lead to the analysis of online citizen science (in her book). dsc_1738.jpgThe research on who engage and to what extent, you get a different picture – Vickie was a participant observer, and in Foldit where the science was very high – the participants were interested in games. The positioning of the people who participate in citizen science. Next, they worked with Nominet Trust and developed nQuire-it – so using smartphone sensors. They’ve done a co-design of an informal system with students and created different ways of exploring the world. The investigations were called “missions” – develop things that the participants are personally interested in and also to the book on “Citizen Inquiry” – citizen science + collaborative inquiry learning + crowdsourcing. The way that they are seen Citizen Inquiry is to think about a link between inquiry learning and citizen science. Trying to think about how these things are brought together. Another project, by Jess Carr is looking about representing ‘publics’ – e.g. developing the workaround advocacy research groups. In inclusive research is part of the work. By the collaboration with the BBC lead to extend citizen inquiry to allow mass surveys (in http://www.nquire.org.uk) which include confidential survey missions, and open social missions. The BBC helped in developing a joint platform and different missions were developed – from survey of sleep pattern, to work with FutureLearn, and to an authoring tool. One work that is currently happening is in the Forst 404 Experiment about different environmental sound and running a podcast. There are issues with owns data and ethical questions about such projects. There are also other activities – such as iSpot and Treezilla. Citizen science inquiry can provide about participation and personally relevant research. Evaluating learning is tricky. Open questions include how can citizen science projects raise interest in STEM and provide appealing science learning? Can citizen science have an impact on the participant’s identity – allow them to identify roles for themselves in the practice of science? The reputation system of iSpot is especially valuable (the Zookeys paper cover that).

The speakers had a common panel, exploring what are the new ideas and agendas that are emerging from the day. point of impact on the world, and science in general and can help; social inclusion that came in both days; growth in computing in challenges; including computers as participants; education;

From today – how we maximise the impact of the data that we produce and that we’re going to produce? How can we take the datasets that are being produced and how they are being used? Data can be repackaged and reused. Another thing is education and there is no impression of getting young people engaged with these types of project – informal involvement and practical science activity. There is a certain “flight from science” and we need to consider how to involve the youth into it. There are both men and women, and there are people who are leaving education (e.g. young males in the UK). There are lessons in museums that engage with citizen science: learning citizen science, DITOs, and the awareness of Ecsite and Aztec. From COASST there are issues about finding older adults because of the year-long needs of the project, but they do have cross-generation participation. There are also issues about the integration of citizen science and inquiry into education – but we need to be articulate about what we’re doing within citizen science. There is also a lot of data on different platforms, and linkage between seagrass and specific birds that are eating it and direct connection is something that ecologists don’t know how to link. There are also people who collected data over a long time and the data and in some cases, this is not shared. There is plenty of information on hatching and egg laying day when they are a very long time, but it is in small notebooks that need to be digitised and used – and this information needs to be collected, as otherwise will be lost. There are issues of a lot of unexpected information within environmental information – examples include the ozone layer reprocessing, or that looking at old records or mass die-off events are showing information that was not known before. This is an issue that we might want ML and other methods of uncommon analysis to provide us. There are also cultural identity issues – about the role of experts and the disrespect of experts: is citizen science are amateur scientists? Or are they are not like experts? Choice c – and there is a wider distribution. Mass mortality events that started in early 2000 made the front page, and right-leaning business groups wanted to hear about it as much as to conservation groups. The business groups was a demonstration of local people collecting information and managing their place. Citizen science is not left or right leaning and it gives a lot of communities to hold information and interpret it – that’s the democratisation. We are not doing the deficit model – bringing people to be like us. But is it useful to link citizen science to political debate? Citizen science can take out the politics and focus on the fact – using an agreed measurement and approach that is societally agreed. In the water projects, people became more educated about the situation so they could lobby the officials to act. There is also an opportunity to bring it the data as a way to challenge difference: it is about empowerment and not about right or wrong. Back to the engagement of kids – the ethical assumptions: if there is data collection then the parent is responsible for the data? In the OU system, there is a concern and that need to be addressed and it is an issue in school settings. There are also options for managing data by the teachers and let students deal with data, pictures, etc. It is tricky on how to engage in advance with parents and children – but it can lead to impacts on parents, too. There are also issues – e.g. reporting about the impact of pollution on an ecological site, and then claims that the site is spoiled so it can be used for development. There are lessons to be learned from Citizen Science: Theory and Practice special issue on ethics, and the Citizen Science Association ethics working groups. The ideas that are emerging and resources that are coming along is to find new questions.

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CBC – The Current – How citizen science is changing the research landscape?

Following the publication of a paper in Nature Communications on the use of eBird data for conservation planning, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) dedicated a segment of their “The Current” programme to the role of citizen science. The section explored “How citizen science is changing the research landscape? Online communities and new technology are making it easier than ever for anyone to get involved in scientific research. But how reliable is user-generated data? And what value does it bring to major studies?”

I had the pleasure to be interviewed by Anna Maria Tremonti for this programme, and you can hear the section on citizen science here.

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Figure 2 from Schuster et al. 2019: Spatial clustering of species abundance comparison of areas prioritized for weekly and yearly planning. The geographical coverage would not be possible without citizen science data.