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.
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DITOs final event (2): Doing It Together beyond DITOs

This is the second part of the plenary element of the DITOs final event and again, I’m reblogging Alice Sheppard’s notes (and editing them lightly):

The second part of the This is a continuation after the morning’s sessions. The session is based on a panel of other projects that have done work in Europe separately from DITOs, but where there has been some collaboration at least in ideas and potential of taking the lessons from DITOs forward. The session was chaired by Colombe Warin, who is the project officer of DITOs. The projects include:

D-NOSES – Rosa Arias (Ibercivis)
D-NOSES is a project creating the “International Odour Observatory”, which will be co-created. Mapping for Change is in their consortium. It takes an “extreme citizen science” approach – any literacy level, socio-economic status and gender of participants should be able to take part without barriers. You can follow them on dnoses.eu and @Dnoses_EU on Twitter.

Sparks – Maria Zolotonosa (Ecsite)
The project itself finished in June last year; was a project to bring RRI closer to citizens. Citizen science was understood in its broadest sense – data collection but also citizen input into policy making and research. It was officially public engagement, but citizen participation was crucial. They came up with a travelling exhibition into every member state of Europe; it was called “Beyond the Lab”. The exhibition is ongoing in Spain, Poland and the Netherlands. They took stories of citizen scientists, for example, a woman with Parkinson’s who uses self-tracking to monitor and take control over her disease, or a clean air activist in London who collaborated with parents to put air sensors on prams. These personal stories are very relatable to people, and they show how citizens can participate in science. Sparks introduced the “reversed science cafe”, in which people are asked to come up with questions to put to participants which can be investigated. Experts listen, change tables regularly, and bring back new things they learn to their countries. It takes inspiration from a regular science cafe in which an expert gives a talk and is asked questions – in this case, the roles are reversed and the scientist comes up with questions for the public! The citizens then discuss the questions, and the expert is often very surprised by the answers and gets new ideas for research. Lessons learned in exhibitions: personal stories are very important, exhibitions can be a catalyst for local mobilisation as long as a local partnership is established.

EU-Citizen.Science – Marzia Mazzonetto (ECSA)
A new project and website, a CSA or coordinated and support action. It has only just launched and is coordinated by the Natural History Museum in Berlin. ECSA has a large role. The main focus is to address what had been identified by the EC as a big need: to have a gateway, an entry point, into citizen science in Europe. There was an effort to involve as many European countries as possible. The platform should be a place for discussion to bring people together and ask about each other’s citizen science, or where citizens can find out what is in their area, or policy makers and science journalists to find out more. There are multiple stakeholders and there will be specific community needs.

WeObserve, Ground Truth 2.0 and other projects – Uta Wehn (IHE Delft)
In WeObserve, the project contains four communities of practice – academics, industries, communities of practice (such as DITOs partners!), citizens. Ground Truth 2.0 co-designs citizen observatories, which has a closer link with policy. Policy makers are invited into the room from the start. There are now six observatories, which each has a unique identity and has chosen its theme of research. They are liaising with policy makers. Many aspects are being re-used from other citizen science projects including DITOs; this has been made possible by sharing best practices. There is one more non-EU funded project called CSEOL, or Citizen Science Earth Observation Lab. DITOs has created a community of engaged citizens, Uta Wehn tells us – there is a huge base of people who now know what citizen science is and can participate.

Environmental Social Science Research Group – Balint Balazs, (ESSRG)
DITOs legacy – “rending invisible citizen sciences visible” – there is now a network of citizen science, including science shops. ESSRG is working as a science shop independently from universities, based in Hungary. The concept of invisible citizen science is connected to location and place. Many of us are not coming from the environmental perspective. Much of it has to do with cultural and institutional issues: what is each country’s science communication practice? Some examples of invisibility: Some citizen science projects are global; the academic papers’ titles often don’t reflect the fact that non-scientists took part. Environmental projects are often co-created and have social aspects. Do they lead to a transformative social innovation? Citizen science itself is often regarded as very niche and new, even by environmental aspects, and it is often feared that it would take a very long time for citizens to understand and develop coordinated scientific methods. There is also an apparent divide between east and west, the speaker, Balazs Balint, says – in his experience, the east has fewer established methods and celebration and also fewer academic papers. However, is invisibility an manifestation of something? How can we record the methods that are taking place, and what is the replacement for citizen science in these contexts? Are we seeing projects only funded through the EC? Are we drawing on a number of auxiliary terms? What kind of knowledge is provided, and created? Environmental citizen science can result from a state’s lack of action. Sometimes, there is knowledge that is not created by the state or academia. It is found that citizens would like to download and share data, and curate it. A culture change is taking place in several countries where democracy is a new (or “short, questionable”) experience. Many social sciences apps can be transferred or utilised to create citizen science projects, and create interesting opportunities for professionals, for example the collection and sharing of old private photos, a common digital heritage. Citizen activism is also going on, but never considered citizen science. FixMyStreet is an example of this – it has been running for 7 years in Hungary. There is a learning curve beyond these applications; people are reporting problems but would also like to take part in governance.

Questions:
Q1) Language: regarding invisibility of citizen science – is this about language? eg black people’s contributions to science are often invisible and not put in the curriculum, which doesn’t mean they aren’t creating knowledge, they might simply call it something else? Is it about language, or is it about action, or some combination? (To a Black person, “invisible” has a very specific meaning and counter-narratives and counter-perspectives are very important.)
A1) a) There is colonial thinking! There is much going on that is invisible but is not called citizen science, partly because of the language but partly because of different knowledge. It is probably much to do with language, but not entirely. b) Language is only what we can articulate; what is in our heads is much broader. How can we tap into that knowledge base? Language isn’t the only method we have. (Answer b is from Uta, who has done work in Africa with water supply issues; she will be told by very knowledgeable local people: “You are the fifth person who wants to co-create a project with me on this, and I haven’t got time – I need to spend time in the field or my family will be hungry!”)

Q2) What is the potential for citizen science to open up the anarchy of science beyond the academic facade? What is it like to be a scientist?
A2) a) It is very mixed, and we get mixed up in the terminology. There are things we call citizen science, public engagement, etc – these terms have something in common. But to look from a more traditional point of view of data collection, it does play a role in science communication. It gives people the opportunity to feel like scientists. The people who participate in citizen science projects are often white middle-class men, which means we aren’t reaching a diverse audience (although DITOs reached 51% women, 49% men). b) Sometimes amazing experiences aren’t communicated to the outside world. The Journal of Science Communication is open access; it would be good to use lessons learned in here to reach more communities. c) We use many techniques to utilise communications. There are times when we simply collect data from citizens, but we can also use bottom-up work – and these two disciplines can enrich each other. There is also data journalism.

Q3) Do any of the panelists have a single particular action they would like to implement, or problem to solve, or policy change to make? For example, to insist that academic papers’ titles reflect the citizen participation? (There are papers who credit every single citizen who takes part.) Should not all participants be credited when there is funding?
A3) Co-design is brilliant, but we can be restricted by having to report all methods to funders – for example, needing to say who will be coders in advance, which then means citizens can’t co-design platforms. So one future change would be more flexibility!

Doing It Together Science (DITOs) final event talks (part 1)

This is a reblogging of the reporting from DITOs final event, which was blogged by Alice Sheppard (which I’ve edited, lightly):

Introduction to the day

Camille Pisani, the Director of RBINS praises numerous volunteers and collaborators who have worked together, and the way different activities have been aimed at reaching many different audiences. There have been many localised events, such as waste management or coastal environmental issues. What makes DITOs different in her views is the integrative approach to the multiple meanings of “citizen science”. Citizen science goes back a long way, but for some people it’s still a new thing, and we’re still in the process of reaching out, even with simple things like communication. At the other end of the scale are people who have been volunteering or experimenting in science outside the professional environment for a very long time. When Camille met Muki four or five years ago, she was extremely interested in the idea of the escalator model.

 

 

Muki Haklay is next on “The DITOs journey”. He starts with “the world needs more citizen science” and the DITOs video. The DITOs story started in the middle of 2013 with the launch of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA). As a fledgeling organisation, the question was how to get it going. In 2014, DITOs was set with a process in which UCL asked partners what they’d be interested in doing during the next few years, and design a project around these plans. They not only thought up the escalator, but also the thought of aiming at more bottom-up citizen science. UCL would lead, because ECSA was still building capacity and was not ready to lead a project. The initial bid was lost to Sparks, which was a wonderful project, but in 2015, a second call came out and in May 2016 DITOs began just after the 2016 ECSA conference. DITOs is very diverse, with a museum, NGOs, SMEs, universities, labs – a very diverse team with an original promise to run 500 events and engage 290,000 participants plus 1.3 million online. It was quite an ambitious target! Muki next mentions the “onion diagram”, which put UCL and ECSA at the centre with many activities and areas going on around them. The objectives included “deep public engagement”, a broad range of public activities, to strengthen ECSA, to do cross-European fertilisation and knowledge-sharing by way of a lot of interaction between the partners, and to reach out to excluded groups. Muki has rewritten the escalator model a few times to develop the ideas and have some exact numbers, such as precisely how many people in the UK are active in DIYBio, and how many watch Blue Planet or visit the science museum. Many more people “passively consume” science (such as the above activities) versus taking a more active role, such as recording birds in their garden. In many cases, people run out of time to do science, for example, while trying to support a family; the escalator allows people to move up and down according to their preference and ability. All the knowledge-sharing leads to project partners spending a great deal of time together, including in local citizen science such as visiting lakes or rivers, and all becoming friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linden Farrer from the European Commission DG RTD (the department that is responsible for research and innovation) is next – DG RTD chooses which projects to fund, or not fund through open calls. DITOs was funded out of a part of H2020 which is dedicated to bringing people and science together (Science with and for Society – SWAFS). The objectives are, of course, bringing science and society together, but also fostering more talent for science and pairing scientific excellence with social responsibility. This can involve co-creation of agendas and policies by several stakeholders – which is quite broad, with a wide range of activities, and maybe discussing results or doing science with citizens. DITOs got funding under a topic called “Pan-European public outreach”, with the aim of increasing public awareness of science and RRI. Now, 2/3 of the way through H2020, they are concentrating on increasing the impacts and effectiveness of the programme, focusing on fewer topics but more closely – and one of such topics is exploring and supporting citizen science (others include institutional change, gender equality, etc – there are still quite a few you can find if you google Citizen Science in SWafS!). Linden lets us know that the future of H2020 and SwafS very likely involves working directly with citizens and civil society organisations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next several presentations are results of DITOs by many of its staff, taking five minutes each, moderated by Margaret Gold.

Judy Barrett, UCL, on the escalator model
Extreme Citizen Science group conceived the idea of DITOs in 2014, with the idea that citizen science should be driven by local needs, practices and cultures. UCL has mostly focused on WP6, “coordination, support and management”, which surrounds all the other work packages (such as policy). We’ve also produced a study of business models of citizen science. Our outputs from WP6 is itself a DITOs legacy, because other projects will be able to use it. We carried out 90 events, which we’ll see more of later. We implemented a MOOC (massive open online course) which has now been operating for 2 years, which has been signed up to by about 1000 people, and is also part of MSc programmes at UCL. Our events are aimed at equipping people with tools to answer their own scientific questions. We’ve made our own escalator model as “the consortium journey” – for several of us, it was our first experience of interdisciplinary work, or citizen science, or many other topics. It was therefore vital to create a supportive, communicative environment, with practice-sharing and exchange of ideas being vital. Some staff of partners were scientists with little experience of citizen science. But many individual staff members felt they had personally grown. Individual highlights include a dedication to progress in citizen science, collaboration with experts, and multi-stakeholder engagement.

Gaia Agnello, ECSA, environmental sustainability
The aim was to introduce citizen scientists and policy makers on developing methods for involvement, bolstering networks, promoting knowledge exchange and events all over Europe. ECSA particularly established the European BioBlitz Network, facilitating best practice exchange between anyone who runs BioBlitzes. Three DITOs partners subsequently established their first BioBlitz. MediaLab Prado created “Interactivos” of discussions and workshops on different topics each year, such as sustainable mobility, food systems, waste management etc. Kersnikova organised the Sister’s Lab, promoting transdisciplinary activities and gender equality, empowering women to collaborate through teaching and learning. UCL ran all-age workshops on air quality, including teaching people how to make environmental monitoring devices. European Green Week last year included discussions of environmental citizen science’s impact on policy. Lessons learned include: balance your organisation’s mandate with the values of the poeple involved; care for participants; co-design events as much as possible – talking to people before designing events; make sure the project has been felt by communities as their own because this will increase impacts; and take care of your team and yourself!

 

Imane Baiz, CRI-Paris, UPD and BioDesign
WP1 is Biodesign, which even the project leaders found a mysterious word at the beginning! It may mean art, or integrating buildings into the ecosystem, or synthetic biology (including the tools and methods). It connects people – for example, scientists with artists. It is interdisciplinary. It also connects ideas, too. We had a total of 700 events, which involved a lot of travelling and creating exhibitions, and partners showing their work to each other, going into schools, designing the Science Bus. It can be about empowerment – designing a sustainable future, inspired by nature. There were also different notions from different people – for example of extensive travel, but in fact, it’s like a group of superheroes who are trying to make the world a better place.

Paweł Wyszomirski, Eco21/Meritum, air quality
Polish cities are suffering from serious air pollution, especially in autumn and winter. Eco21 began to work with policy makers. They were creating data, which they decided to use to empower people to do something about the pollution – which involved teaching people how to use numbers to make decisions. This also allows people to talk with others in their neighbourhoods. Membership of ECSA allowed Eco21 to be invited to an air quality workshop, to learn how to empower and engage people in citizen science and in being able to do something about poor air quality. Pawel hopes that many people will come and ask him about European Clean Air Day.

Carole Paleco, RBINS, the escalator model at the museum
A way that RBINS have tried to apply the escalator model is to evaluate their activities and events, and also trying to involve the citizens at an early stage. At a citizen science cafe, for example, the monitoring and evaluation of feedback from participants has led to being able to give the facilitator feedback each time. They have a small touring exhibition that goes to schools in the Brussels region. They’ve organised biodiversity workshops with volunteers. They asked participants what they would put on a “Z-Card” which would go out to schools to raise awareness of biodiversity. She gave a report on a Phasma Meeting at RBINS, and organised their first BioBlitz last year. It was very focused with five scientists. The XperiBird has given out nestboxes to schools so that the children can observe birds nesting and bringing up chicks.

Simon Gmajner, Kersnikova, Bridging the Gap
Kersnikova aims to bridge the gaps between scientists and artists, also with participants and events. There was no phrase for “citizen science” in Slovenian, so it was translated best as “participatory science”. They then decided to organise exhibitions which would spur discussions. They did a BioArt exhibition which included science cafes which deepened discussion and complimented the artists’ and scientists’ modes of engagement. They managed to host the author of a book on biotechnology. A problem they ran into was people asking “What is art and what is science here?” which they found they could not always answer! They wanted to build an ecosystem that would support itself, which involved training people in interdisciplinary matters. They have a biotechnology lab and also ran workshops on biorobotics and soil tasting! They also trained mentors, so that citizens who had been coming for a long time could teach newer people.

https://twitter.com/mhaklay/status/1113363070355681280

Claudia Gobel, ECSA, Policy Engagement
DITOs has many public engagement activities, but also wants to talk to decision makers, which ECSA has focused on – at European, national and local levels. They’ve held 16 discovery trips, 17 stakeholder round tables, a pan-European policy forum and many more additional workshops and events. These took place in various countries. Policy briefs have come out of this, with a focus on open science and on responsible research and innovation. There is a diversity of voices in citizen science. It is very important to understand how citizen science is conceptualised and done – which is where the escalator was very important. There are different communities of practitioners. Citizen science needs cultural change and a plurality of voices, transparency, diversity, inclusiveness and these must be very important in our organisations. They also want to build more networks of stakeholders. Claudia also highlighted the citizen science book – if you’re here, please help yourself to a copy, or download it here.

Ted Fjallman, Tekiu UK, WP4 Policy Engagement
Across the project, we’ve managed to achieve 50% more events than we originally planned – DITOs has been very successful in the policy area, too. Tekiu is a for-profit organisation, though is not seeking to make a profit from DITOs. Ted observes that people are learning differently. He asked how many of us go to the cinema (nearly everyone); how many would be willing to pay what you’d pay for the cinema to attend a policy event? It was fewer people. Tekiu joined DITOs to understand how society is changing as a whole (which they cannot ask a single company). Discovery Trips are Tekiu’s brand; they take 10 to 25 people on a trip from one country to another to meet with their counterparts abroad so both parties can learn what the others do. Sometimes, participants may go on for example to join their city council. They plan to keep linking scientists with policymakers. They feel the future lies in active monitoring – we all have a phone, which has technology we wouldn’t have been able to imagine 30 years ago. It is, therefore, time to update the way we think.

Participants’ panel:
Cindy Regalado and Pawel Miedzinski from eutema moderating – Adam, Bernard, Roland, Mark, Pen-Yuan

Adam: Was part of Science has no Borders at UCL. Had a stall with an artist friend who collaborated on art and science of complexity. Attended film nights which included discussions of uneasy topics such as the history of eugenics. Attended Do It Together bio workshops, which taught him how to do simple biology experiments and procedures, use cutout microscopes, and learning about work at an aquarium and how to sample from the wild.
Bernard: Also worked with Rachel at the aquarium (as above), organised some workshops in Ireland with aerial kite mapping to which some environmentalist groups were invited; they hope to map their waterways in the future. They have also worked with young people from youth work in Ireland – they took some cameras which would otherwise have ended up in a landfill, and allowed young people to take the cameras apart to see what was inside them and convert them into near-infrared.
Roland – OpenWetLab evenings at Waag. His background is biology but he’s learning a lot of DIYbio and technology this way. Went to Kersnikova for a Bio-Art project and conference – all these were funded by DITOs; many participants in a Bio-Art movement came from around the world.
Mark – Was a Science Bus captain. Had already done a lot of outreach and engagement activities around Ireland. Science Bus involved travelling in a camper van around Europe collaborating with museums etc to work with the local public and get them engaged in workshops. The bus captains travelled together but didn’t always know each other beforehand! They taught the public how to carry out small DIY projects and gave them tools to investigate the world around them, also encouraging them to investigate and critique the world around them in this way. His favourite part was getting people interested who had never carried out scientific activities this way before. They were interested in the public’s life hacks and traditional remedies – how did people get information about what to do about (for example) what to do about bruises or mosquito bites when they didn’t engage much with science? A commonly stated solution was “urinate on it”!
Pen: worked with Cindy on delivering electronics workshops for the public, learning about open hardware and taking control over it and understand it. Has also worked with Cindy on DIY environmental sensing. He has also been investigating the nature of knowledge and creativity, such as creative commons licensing – how to creatively subvert copyright laws to share knowledge. He has, therefore, run many workshops in different places such as Italy, Scotland etc, and worked with hackerspaces. He has found that many people don’t know how to solder, so has used conductive thread.

Q: Has DITOs changed the way you do your work or practice?
Adam: Yes, now collaborates and gives talks, and works with many different people – DITOs was a big confidence-booster.
Bernard: Current role means diverting mattresses from landfill; quantifies work, work done manually – makes that work visible. Does mapping, community gardens, working with young people and getting them to understand the importance of data.
Roland: Has trained biohackers who then go on to train each other; has enjoyed watching skills spread. DITOs has personally influenced him to give workshops, feeling there is a mix between arts and science.
Mark: The Waag had the idea of the science bus; when he met them he felt they were wonderful but had a different way of thinking from how he would have carried out his work, so it taught him a new way of seeing things, which he felt was progressive. He applied these ideas to the science bus and his own work in Ireland. He returned to Ireland trying to find out how to engage the largest number of people possible – and has used the opening of Ireland’s new science centre to engage more people in citizen science and to see what they can do themselves.
Pen: Worked with a citizen scientist who built his own tools and developed his own methods for ecology – and discovered a population of deer near his village. This caught the attention of the local authorities, who built a protected area for the deer. Citizens do not just passively collect data. Science can make all of us become more engaged citizens.

European Citizen Science General Assembly 2019

DSC_1604.JPGThe assembly run at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) which is located in the Museum of Natural Sciences. ECSA Vice-Chair, Lucy Robinson, will be stepping down this time. ECSA have a team of 6 people that are involved in various projects and activities of the working groups. Some of the highlights from the work of ECSA in 2018. In 2018, ECSA has about 150 paying members. There is a reduction in individual members. The newsletter has over 1700 subscriber, the newsletter open rate is 25% which is good, but they want to increase. In the last year, the organisation worked on internal and external structures and accredited as an observer at the UN Environment Assembly. There are now 9 working groups, covering many issues. The development of the global partnership of citizen science organisation continued to evolve with engagement with the UN Environmental Assembly. ECSA is engaged in 6 H2020 projects – DITOs, WeObserve, LandSense, D-NOSES, EU-Citizen.Science and Panelfit. The DITOs project provided the ability to ECSA to support the development of citizen science networks in Italy, and also activities in opening up science, and considering how ECSA, as the legacy organisation of DITOs, develop more open and inclusive practices. So what came out of DITOs? the development of the ECSA, working groups and follow up projects. There are especially efforts in policy engagement work. WeObserve is another project where ECSA coordinated support across citizen observatories – key challenges include awareness of projects, the acceptability of the approach and data, and sustainability. WeObserve work as a range of communities of practice – on engagement, impact, interoperability, and the SDGs. The LandSense project is dealing with providing innovations in a citizen observatory around land use and land cover. D-NOSES address the scaling with recording odour issues – the Odourcollect is being used to collect data about smell issues and more case studies will start appearing in the coming year. EU-Citizen.Science is aiming to develop a sustainable platform and mutual learning space for citizen science in Europe. The Panelfit project is the facilitate the adaptation in the regulation of ICT research through open access guidelines for a citizen science project. The suggestion is to provide a data management plan for citizen science projects. They also consider how to address especially vulnerable population in Europe. ECSA budget, beyond the restricted funds that are linked to projects, is about €61,000 which enables the creation of new roles in the organisation.  The organisation is starting to build capacity and long term staff that is not tied to a project, but it is still limited in the financial support that it can provide to working groups.

The plan for the year ahead is to ensure that we can increase the sustainability and independence of ECSA. There is a special effort to increase transparency and have a clear procedure – e.g. what is the way in which the organisation participate in projects proposals. There was a step change in the number of project proposals were ECSA is being asked as a partner. In terms of governance, ECSA planning to have two Vice Chairs to the coming year and that in the future we will create a role of President, and then have a Chair and Vice Chair who are taking active work in the organisation. There will be also processed for conferences and General Assembly. ECSA is setting its processes with these procedures.

A new working group was set on citizen science networks and helping them to set abilities to share information, and setting minimum standards.

Next ECSA conference in 2020 is 25-26 May 2020.

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Citizen Science 2019: Indigenous People on the Front Lines: Using Citizen Science to Improve Environmental Public Health

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The session “Indigenous People on the Front Lines: Using Citizen Science to Improve Environmental Public Health” was organised by Judith Zelikoff (NYU medicine), Kathleen Vandiver (MIT), Esther Erdei (University New Mexico / Missouri Breaks Industries Research Inc.), Shirley VanDunk (Ramapough Lenape Tribe)

Judith  – they are part of the NIEHS, and Esther is in the Native Environmental Health equity Center. Citizen science use to improve health. The speakers are Dona Chavis from NC climate justice collective and FoE. The panel includes Jacie Curnick from U of Iowa and Jeff Currie II from Lumbee Riverkeeper.

DSC_1557.JPGDona – a daughter of the Lumbee nation and recognised the original people who were here.  Come from an oral tradition, and can tell a lot of stories – adding “to moving beyond the historical trauma” to the title – according to Maria is the impact of the loss of possessions, people, and places on a group of people. The connection on citizen science is that the impact of the past cannot be separated from the current reality. Every day is on the front line because of the historical trauma and the current struggle. In NC, the native tribes in NC developed a distrust and have been studied “to death” – even anthropologists checking hair, circumferences of heads etc. People were told that they have to participate in studies by the government. Because of that Citizen Science is a foreign concept. For her people, the relationships to water is critical, e.g. the area is a wetland and colonisation happened only in the mid 19th century. The area has a history of hiding – swampland was a place to live: food, medicine, clothing. The colonisation causes these to disappear. Now she’s working in the environmental NGO sector: suffering from CAFO, coal ash, trees are being cut down, and a gas pipeline. There are impacts from hurricanes. In Robertson County, Hurricane Mathew in 2016 and Florence in 2018, the last was massive and it covered and flooded the whole county. They still have elders who remember the pathways of the water, so the discussion on how to revive the waterway, and they realise that they had a traditional knowledge that can be used to address climate change. With Chapel Hill, they put a grant to monitor the water in the area – it moves forward in a way that includes the concerns and understanding of the community. It provided a way that matches community practice of starting the meeting at the community rate and the scientists were respectful of the community. Now they have the first baseline for the community on the impact of storms and what may be found and what should be done about it. Some methods are traditional, but they can be integrated. A big lesson is that inclusion has to start in the planning stage. Information should be released according to when, what, and how it is to be released.

Kathy Vandiver – a citizen science Passamaquoddy environmental dept. The study was done where the communities were highly involved, pleased with the results, high calibre research and sampling by citizen scientists and community input with a report back. Create a professional pipeline that was improved, and the literacy of the public regarding environmental health was improved. This started with the interest of masters students from civil and environmental engineering. The results – engagement of 22% of the population, 145 wells that tested for arsenic. The students (Abby and Tchelet) used a water sample for standing and running water samples from the faucet at home, checking for led, arsenic and so on. The kits were collected in the community offices – an early workshop didn’t work well, and the students delivered flyer. The results were useful as 26% were above the acceptable level and well owners were given advice on arsenic filters. There was an important aspect of improving the professional pipeline with the tribal environmental dept member who helped in the analysis.  The Passamaquoddy stayed on campus. The Masters engineering students learn how to run the meetings, and the project was also for the community to learn about EPA rules and the health effects of contaminants in the water. Helping to explain to people how to interpret the results. Students learned how to talk with the public, and also created a capacity for tribal members.

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Judith Zelilkoff – empowerment of the Ramapough Nationa – a toxic legacy moved to action. Native Americans have a shorter life expectancy by 4.4 years and that is because they are exposed disproportionately to nuclear test sites, uranium mines, power plants, toxic was. 25% of Superfund sites are in Indian country. For 75% in 2013 didn’t have safe water to drink and then there are 61% of air pollution sources. The Ramapough Lenape – the tribal chief came to NYU and they are in New Jersy that are in a Superfund site where the nation lives, 50 miles from NYC. The tribal nation, there were iron mines in their area. In the 1960s, a Ford subsidiary disposed of paint sludge and car parts in the unused mines – with lead paint and for 10 years disposing of paint waste and electronic waste. The result is a 500-acre superfund site. In the area of Ringwood in 1970 they put tarpaulin over the waste, and high level of iron and other pollutants in the area and Ramapough made a lawsuit and got very little to the community. in 2013, statistically, there is an impact of the pollution with diseases, there increase in asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure. People have a lot of concern – they are scared of eating from the garden, can’t use the land, can’t fish and game. Done focus groups and studies on what they can do for them – concerns about water quality was high and they’ve worked together to have and collected water collection that was done by community members with help from graduate students. Tests for lead in the water was done by community members and other contaminants. They used community relevant test kits. Also some trace and toxic metals. In reporting back, they recommended not to fish in a specific area (Sallys Pond) and the chief was involved as a facilitator. Slides are reviewed by community members. Summary: restoring dignity and ownership over their community; prioritise a community research agenda, and change public policy. They back up community concerns with evidence and science.

DSC_1565.JPGEsther Erdie, work in Southeastern USA – 90% Native American are populating the area. There are 3% of the US population are native, there are 573 federally recognised tribes in 36 states. The Navajo Nation has 300,00 people. In 2004 there was recognition that environmental health is needed for tribal land-based cultures. The relationship to the land is very different from urban cultures, and lack of culturally-centred primary research. In 2015 there was a Mine Release in 2015 that impact a large area in Gold King Mine. There are over 4000 uranium mines, so big issue. There is a legacy of the extraction industry that leads to environmental injustice in the south-west US, there are airborne nanomaterial metals (U, V, Si), and lung exposure pathways because it’s an open cast mine. The Navajo nation when examined in 2010, showed 21% high level of Uranium in them. The citizen science goes to 1972 there were discharges and in 1979 tailing spill. There are problems lead to the sampling of radiation from 2002. In Church Rock uranium mine they took samples by community members who act as citizen scientists and identify 376 water source that is exceeding regulated level in 2011. There are problems in different sites and created a traffic light system to indicate how the water can be used. The issue is how the community want to use the information, the Navajo nation is focusing on the creation of a medical school and use the science to address issues. Education is important and needs to integrate traditional ways of thinking and considering issues.

DSC_1568.JPGJefferson Currie II from the Lumbee in North Carolina, and is a riverkeeper. The job is about citizen science, he comes from community background and the watershed that he deals with are brownfields, Swine and poultry CAFO, coal ash, oil and gas pipelines, etc. The approach that he takes is that he continues to talk with community members, and get information. His job is to stop pollution and hold people to account for it. They had a huge increase in poultry operations and there is a problem of not letting the operations growing. People say that the water becomes brown because of the swine CAFO and that is a way to identify violations. Floods – people who are older can explain things on how they are happening. They get reports on flooding that can be caused by solar farm and can local knowledge can work.

Judith – citizen science includes citizens and citizens. There are no short projects with communities and the Ramapough project is one that requires long term commitment and there is a long term commitment.

Dona – the distrust is when there is extractive knowledge an element of academia that is linked to funding, which researchers refuse to help because of funding. There are concerns about contaminations that require long term engagement. Beyond the funding, there will be leaders and people in the community that will continue to carry out the work. Consider other exchange – time, food and more. Need to maintain relationships.

Language – Judith went to learn the language, but there is wide use of English. In Esther case, 30% only speak Navajo and working with the community requires to have community members that are a local speaker, for example, there is a need to have female community researchers because of matriarchal structures. There are Native American that are becoming scientists. Dona – there is also a need to talk about the cultural language, not only the verbal language.

Vi – for true community based participatory research in different communities, ask them what is their area of concerns and help them to design the research and make sure that it is their data. Native American can tell their own stories and their own knowledge. Need to consider. Judith – there can be an interaction, that includes people who with an agreement that they will be the voice of the community.

There are panels that need to be considering the inclusion of different groups, such as black communities is needed to be included from the start of processes and be represented by themselves.

The suggestion of developing long terms relationships with community

Consortia of native academics who are building protocols with native communities to maintain knowledge by the communities of people that integrate traditional and scientific knowledge in themselves. The native academics didn’t experience disconnect – maybe the language and jargon, but there is a need to start with the people first and then it is how the relationship is being built. Native academics are fostering. In terms of self-determination – concepts of Free, Prior and Informed Consent is central. Bottom determinant.

 

Citizen Science 2019: Ethical Considerations in Funded Citizen Science: Implications for Broader Impacts

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The session Ethical Considerations in Funded Citizen Science: Implications for Broader Impacts, organise by Jacqueline Vadjunec (NSF), Fay Cobb Payton (NSF), Todd Kuiken (NC State University), Lisa Rasmussen (UNC Charlotte), Brenda Wilson Evon Connally (UNC Charlotte), Stacy Lynn (CitSci.org), Caren Cooper (NCSU), John Parker (NSF)
The Jacquie is in the Geography division of NSF, and the goals are the challenges in democratising funding and discuss institutional mechanisms to support citizen science. Citizen science is funded in different ways and it included scientists and citizen scientists that are involved in NSF projects.

NSF mission is to promote the progress of science and the budget is about $7b, promoting thousands of projects mostly 3 years. Funding basic knowledge that can be generalisable. The intellectual merit and broader impacts are both important. Broadening participation of underrepresented STEM groups came from work in 2008 and now have the includes programme. Creating people where everyone has an opportunity for a career in STEM – dealing with geography, gender, ethnicity etc. There are about 150 projects that are being funded to 225 at any given moment. Citizen science has intellectual merit – theory of citizen science, or broader impact – engaging new groups.

Omega Willson – in NC and 45 miles west of Raleigh and have been doing 25 years where they work on citizen science and started to engage 2 years ago. The relationship with the CSA is to diversify the conference through a sub-committee of the conference that paid attention to it which was in the panel yesterday. 60 scholarship for community organisations to bring people to the conference and increase representation. There are issues of labelling of community research and the process of networking will help in labelling and a way to increase support.

Fay – in the division of computer network systems, and they are funding a big chunk of projects and they are not under the label of citizen science. In the division, there is an effort of increasing participation in computing engineering – e.g. AI, smart cities, etc. They defined broadening participation very broadly – lots of identity markers to bring people into the portfolio. It is about equitable engagement – in the community, by the community. A process and a measurement effort. What does it mean to inform the PI and what should be done. Part of it is to understand the review process and they include criteria for broadening participation in their panel: less about diversity and more about inclusion. Cultural and organisational change in the NSF, e.g. in large grant call. Also involved in NSF Includes and it is more nuanced in its criteria and the ethical issues are embedded – working with community partners etc require to define shared goals, vision, how to sustained the efforts and how it is measured. How to evidence it.

Todd – part of the DIY Bio community and funding community biotech labs, and try to raise some of the issues with such grants. Applied for community biotech for the Baltimore centre that is at the forefront of engagement – inner city and touching underrepresented community. The review was very positive, but one of the issues was that no partnership with a university was too high (e.g. BUDD) and concerns about bio-safety and biosecurity. An organisation that is very small it is very difficult to get into but they are the places where innovation in Includes happened and creating STEM opportunities. The Wilson Center couldn’t pass the criteria of NSF, which a small organisation that run by volunteers cannot pass this hurdle. Partnering with universities means losing lots of money. Money in the crowdsourcing area have a particular opportunity to raise a significant amount of money and what are the ethics of funding projects and how to avoid selling false hopes, or what about the data that come from such a study that it wasn’t coming from the same place.

Stacy  – CitSci.org was created in 2007 and it engaged broad participation in research anywhere, with access to technology. The system is about “helping you to do great science” and it is defined very broadly. Through conversation with potential users, decided that it’s not their job is to police participation or projects, but they need to create a platform that will allow people to make decisions about their projects and their ethics (in the new issue of CSTP). The project manager can decide who can participate in the project – from open completely to selected individuals. Openness decision about the data is also for each project because of privacy, or endangered animals. To make it available to most users, governance is done by people who know their project. The NSF funding came from multiple programmes. They’ve done business modelling and got funding as an infrastructure. Ethics is a complex issue and long engaged conversation about the choices.

Lisa – as a philosopher and teaching research ethics, and there are many places where research is done outside regulations and done a workshop on ethical issues in citizen science and it is a very complex problem. Citizen science and DIY bio can reimagine the way we govern research – research framework that was articulated in the 1970s and in IRB you don’t consider community harm, so broadening participation changes the way we engaged. At the moment there is a struggle exactly how to create a framework – possibly a philosophy of trust, and including ensuring data quality, trust with community members, and trust with the ethics. There are ethical worries: there are things that you might fall into, and nefarious people – the grandfather of Alt-science: separating good science from bad science.

Caren – discussed topics as Vespucci and it came up in citizen science projects and got interested in it. She now teaches ethics and makes the students grapple with ethics issues. Problems from her own projects – top-down projects with different funding and outcomes. The IRB oversight treats them as human-subject research. Sparrow Swap is about contaminant and it falls between NSF and NIH. There are issues with IRB and assuming participants are anonymous, but that will mean that we can’t acknowledge them! In Sound around Town, there is an issue of informed consent and everyone is open about it and need to get third-party consent to recording sound. In a new project about testing for lead pipes, they want to pass the responsibility to the participants to decide what will be shared and how. She also develops norms around data ethics. Good data also means that it was collected ethically.

Regarding sharing information – the participants decide which data should be shared and with whom. Omega – questions about race and racism in communities, and there were cases of professors sharing information with officials about names and not realising that they should respect other people. They had to get lawyers to force the researchers out of university for revealing details. They had to tell some researchers not to come to their area again. There is sometimes a need to use lawyers and a legal settlement with research institutions. The moral issue needs to be addressed.

Regarding issues of data – Stacy working with communities in East Africa and the data need protection, and with CitSci.rog there is a need to co-create protocol for doing projects to work through a series of questions: is it for people, and providing tools and procedures. If you work with communities, have you consulted the community about it. Pre and post work checking to inform the decision making. Fay – skipping a level, the implications of sharing are overlooked – data literacy and implication. Lead pipes are one thing, but there can be an impact on education funding for the area due to a drop in house prices. What are the implications and making the decision require an understanding of the lived experience? We have to consider the implications. Even with contributory projects, there aren’t communities and it interacts with individuals and if there isn’t a framework or organisation that addresses community consent.

Issues of community harm perspectives in terms of reviewing the ethics is always done at the individual and not with groups. In crowdfunding and crowdsourcing – there are side effects: figuring out the person that collected the data, addressing groups and not individuals. Crowdfunding might be completely outside the control of institutions. There will be a potential that lots of research will be outside the IRB regulation, and Lisa says that the CSA need to put structures in place. Tom – there is a risk that data will not be available for use by researchers in the universities. Todd – the DIY Bio community have its own code of ethics that was created bottom up, and in iGEM there is an effort to educate people in the competition to consider ethical and societal aspects. Universities should be educating students about ethical issues. John – However, there are different ethical codes for DIY Bio between US/Europe which indicates the cultural difference, so need to have both a top-down approach for responsibility and some role for institutional oversight. Omega – we need to discuss issues of the legal framework.

Fay – there are specific ethical guidelines (e.g. from ACM), and the citizen science and inclusiveness are included with the general way in which the field operates. There is a call about starting to teach computer scientists to understand the implications of technological development and ethics. Stacy – teaching all undergraduate students in the ethics of their work, and starting early. Caren – the citizen science approach might cause us to rethink frameworks that we have, such human subject research. We might need a poly-centric framework for oversight. Fay – the issues of collectivism and individualism are coming to the fore in citizen science. Ellen – because the NSF is spending federal money, they need to stand certain standards to get through a Federal Audit and that blocks organisations.

Citizen Science 2019: Designing technology to maximize cultural diversity, uptake, and outcomes of citizen science

 

DSCN3339This blog post was written by Michelle Neil of ACSA with edits by me (yay! collaborative note taking!) (apologies for getting names wrong!) 

The session was structured in the following way: first, each person presented their issue, and then they answer questions that were presented by other panel members. The questions that we managed to get through are:1)  What changes have you made to your design in order to be more inclusive or reach out to people beyond your “usual suspects”?

2)  How can we promote stronger partnerships between HCI/UX design & citizen science in order to produce technology that encourages inclusion?

3)  How do we begin to engage communities in the design of technologies and technology-based learning experiences, particularly within diverse communities and with diverse participants?

The session was organised by Jessie Oliver (Queensland University of Technology)Jessie’s research in about engaging people with acoustic citizen science particularly birders.  what are the barriers and challenges about looking at acoustics?

A1 What do people want to do? Be inside or outside? Musicians may be the key for acoustic citizen science more then birders.  Showed birders spectrographs of the bird sounds and they are not interested – they want to see birds!

A2 get it recognised as something that is worth looking at. Then keep diversifying. Then ask more / different groups.

Jonathan Brier (University of Maryland) Looking at how we do the science of citizen science and bug people about security and privacy. working on national portals of citizen science. interested in what we do on larger systems and how they change.
A1 Site needs to be compliant so people of all abilities need to be working

Q2 ask.  Go to the uni students! Also, go to the lowest level of technology.

Muki Haklay (University College London) in the context here, focus on research with non-literate groups on data collection and analysis but highlighting how paper-based prototyping in the field (including a chicken that walks on the prototypes) can help in effective design. Namibia - Map Visualisation Session2_Moment2
A1 how do we include train-spotters in citizen science? why?  Plane spotters used to be mocked until a database was needed about illegal planes….. the moment you start thinking about not your regular community but those that are more detail-oriented then we have inbuilt citizen scientists.

Q2 how he started in HCI – got into the area without knowledge from undergraduate computer science studies, so only learned it during PhD (with the help of Angela Sasse at UCL), and therefore know that need to collaborate with mainstream HCI experts on different projects, or working with MSc students.

Jenny Preece (University of Maryland) interest in citizen science on biodiversity of data collection.  Book  – Interaction Design that will come out soon in 5th edition and include 5 citizen science case studies.
Citizen science and human-computer interaction are both interested in humans. cit sci wants people to participate while HCI wants to see how people interact.

A1.  Don’t ask people to give you their design ideas. They don’t know what they are or they are scared to do so. Need to ask it differently

A2.  After hurricane Katrina libraries were a huge sanctuary so most people went to libraries to give people a centre of focus with a community and talking to the outside world.

Tamara Clegg (University of Maryland) new to citizen science. try to help people scient-ize in their everyday lives through designing technology and make learning experiences. NatureNet project is trying to reach communities that are underrepresented to do projects that better sustain their communities by using technologies.

A1. Titles can alienate people. come and help us make our technology better works better. Make it practical and relevant and communicable.

A2 Used HCI undergraduates as part of their assignment to do usability studies on tech as part of their degree. Also created the standards in accessibility. Have more conversations.  Also, (questions from the audience about hurricane Katrina aftereffects) equity social justice as started to take shape in the community.
Grant Miller (University of Oxford – Zooniverse)  Helped build over 100 citizen science projects in citizen science. engaged over 2 million people so far. PenguinWatch. The barrier to entry couldn’t be lower. Remove the barrier or get it as low as humanly possible.  Provide pathways for deeper engagement and connect with researchers. use plain language increases engagement.

A1 volunteer translation app in zooniverse so anyone can do projects.  Don’t ever ask anyone to be a citizen scientist on your project! Keep the barrier to entry as low as possible.

A2 ask for people who do have broadband to help those who don’t. e.g. directing first responders to help those who are in trouble from the other side of the world.

FROM THE FLOOR

Andrew Robinson

A1 If people were recording pokemon go but actually doing biodiversity that would be huge! We went for gamers with questagame. we are taking them outdoors. its an example of a non-traditional citizen scientist.<

Maryan Misouri

A1 Ended up working with people who were blind. very challenging. took more time, differently set up.

A2 Petra (Barcelona).  Explore hackerspaces, makerspeaces etc.

A2  Take a more basic approach. 80 rural counties in NC where broadband is not even accessible. Primarily done via telephone line so can’t assume good data transfer. Most affected people don’t have broadband. how do you do citizen science when you don’t have broadband? or you’ve had a hurricane?

Muki answer:  there are persistent digital divides. In some low-income communities, they leave school at 16 years old and don’t touch a computer. Have to re-learn after 5 years how the technology works again due to advances in interface design so don’t assume that everyone knows how to use computers. Need to look at south-north innovations – e.g. Ushahidi Brck.  local-mesh networks. .

Jennifer shorts-valler (?)

no communication. Recently taken over a Citizen Science project. How do we make it the best it can be? HCI folks were not on the radar. How do we connect the researchers and the HCI together? (Jessie to connect)

Daniel Powell uni of Maryland

Undergrads want to make an app for everything. what else is out there? Who else do we go to? How do we find these partnerships?

Muki – consider an empathy project. force student to deposit smartphones and use a function phone for a week.  In my field, there is a problem that most people don’t know how to read maps but the people in GIS think that everyone can read them. Issues of empathy between communities and those that design tech for them. Latest technology gets you into the top conferences but you can innovate on the function form. Get the empathy in.

Jessie created workshops and paid to bring citizen scientists plus brought in HCI people to co-create and was very fruitful

Jenny suggested developing an INTERACTIONS article and something similar with citizen science journal

Mark Handrichaw uni Ottowa

timing of the relationships and partnerships. need to have everyone together at the start. so you don’t go down rabbit holes.

yourong veee uni Washington

we are the best people to understand the users not the web designers. a difference of the partnership.

JESSIE: partnership doesnt exlude money.

Grant: get ownership and buy-in so get them interested (designers etc) treat them in the same way as volunteers but pay them.

Julie Sheerd Natural history of Denmark

Asking people to do an experiment and ask them to fill into a database. most said too hard and filled in the hard copy sheet instead. what about all these places online.  need an advocator in each country.

Jessie: need someone paid to collate and enter data. Privacy issues. need to make a clearinghouse that we can all use.

Tammy: the challenge in entering information into computers is a common one. If you are with family it is always easier to do something on a paper rather than entering onto the phone.

Vinny vandee design laboratory of san Diego

know the best practices but not everyone does. need a basic tutorial which describes<

JONATHAN we could add these ideas and FAQ on the associations’ websiteGuidelines are only general. number rof different guidelines.  A question of people being able to find it. Needs to be customisable to the community.

Ortez  (?)

wants to create a game that is super connected but it is super expensive. Paris has BirdLab. Costs $50k Euros. I don’t know how to find the money. How do you find the money? (Talk to Andrew from Questagame or Zooniverse but depends on what type of engagement you want).  Do you want it to actually be a game? explore all possibilities.

Can use the principles from community engagement of going where people are – in physical space but also online. need to go to where people are. the example is #RimFire01 observation spot on the way to Yosemite . Check the hashtag #Rimfire01

Using twitter or facebook (Andrew) we have a tendency that our motivations are everyone else. What motivates citizen scientists? Financial? gamers? Repercussions of using twitter and facebook for citizen science. A lot of people aren’t aware of this”

Sydney

Flip the conversation. Citizen science work is getting kids outside. How do we include audiences who are disabled / too scared to go outside involved? how can we do it in a way that brings everyone in?

Brian Brown at Standford (TAMMY) – VR – count the healthy options in the community.

JOHNATHAN: Google hangouts used to engage others who can’t get there.

ALICE SHEPPARD:  Potential for soundscapes in citizen science. SoundScape, Project Soothe. Have you heard this bird?

HUSH City app.

MICHELLE _ sometimes HUSHCity app is used by parents who have kids who can’t handle loud noises. motivations.<

TAMMY’s QUESTION<

How do we engage?

MUKI starts from failure.  Coming into the area long after there were racial tensions. Somalis were not included and realised that at the end of the project. Needed to check the gov census first before you go into an area. Passive inclusiveness vs assertive inclusiveness.

GRANT; try to realise that your failing at it. Go and talk to diverse communities. Sitting with 6 blokes in Oxford asking the question means you haven’t started right.< VINNET PANDEY: Anytime I go into a formal meeting and pitch my project I went first into a kombuchaHUSH workshop. made friends. got into the community. JENNY:  be prepared to be very persistent and just keep trying. Ideally,  spend 1 to 2 years with a community so I know them really well before writing the grant proposal TAMMY:  Best one yet has been with my church. JESSIE:  buy-in is so important. started as a participant observer. So thrilled when I realised that they valued my work. FIND THE RIGHT PERSON IS TO GO IN AND WHO THEY HAVE TO SEE> DO THE RESEARCH!

FINANCIAL

Need to trick the organisation to get money? Include funds in your budget for community involvement / interns.