Citizen Science 2017 – Day 1 (Afternoon) – Tools, overcoming barriers, and project slam

The Afternoon session started with Tools for people running projects including the presentation about Doing It Together Science project

Breaking the Barriers to Citizen Science
Artemis Skarlatidou* – University College London; Alice Sheppard – University College London; Muki Haklay – University College London; Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association.  Alice Sheppard presented the talk, exploring the DITOs project. The DITOs project is of significant scale – many events about citizen science across Europe, with 11 partners from 10 different countries. What we want is to get people involved in citizen science and to achieve wide and deep public engagement. Type of events that we’re running are things like BioBlitz, Bio Art, Exhibition, Science in Schools, as well as the science games competition iGamer, or the travelling exhibition bus that will reach to rural places without science museum to increase exposure to citizen science and the potential to join. The escalator model is presented, including the experience that Alice herself had in getting into science through her life. She also presented the early stages of the DITOs logic model that explain how we want to convert how the different activities lead to results and outcomes. For example, funding to add CS in a museum, that will allow more people to join and a person can leave the museum with some involvement in citizen science and that increase access to science. Different activities map to different stages in the escalator.

Citizen Science and Open Hardware: Creating a Roadmap for Accessible Technology Innovation
Shannon Dosemagen* – Public Lab; François Grey – University of Geneva; Jenny Molloy – University of Cambridge. The experience that has developed in public lab, which from the start adopted open hardware licences led to a gathering for open science hardware, which brings together those that are interested in developing open hardware tools and protocols. Science require tools and these are difficult to access and therefore presents a barrier to participation. Makers lead to tools that are cheap, open hardware, open source software, etc. and this can make science tools more available. CERN started developing the open hardware licence that will allow adapting and changing the tools for local condition. CERN licence is aimed to have verified and tested tools. The first gathering for open science was in CERN, people are coming together from different areas and experiences and this allow to bring 50 people, and the second event was in Chile, with 180 people applying after a second year with strong commitment to equity in terms of gender, geography, position in terms for accepting participants. Gathering for Open Science Hardware has now set of principles that are available on the website. There is also think about on how equity is increase to scientific tools – tools need to be made of material that can be sourced locally and repaired. Politics of designing a tool were considered – there are many tools that are available: from sensors, to devices. There is a mission to change things by 2025, with many more accessible tools and more participatory approaches.

What We Learned from Talking to 110 People About Citizen Science Tools: Scaling and Sustaining Through the NSF Innovation Corps for Learning Program
Micah Lande – Arizona State University; Darlene Cavalier* – Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society; Brianne Fisher – ; David Sittenfeld – ; Erica Prange – SciStarter and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Catherine Hoffman – SciStarter. SciStarter received funding to explore the perceptions and needs of the people who are using the platform. The survey looked at SciStarter and how people join and use the project. SciStarter is helping to help people’s journeys and noticing that people join more than one project – usually 3-5. They look at current data sharing. The identity problem with access to tools that contribute to a project, so SciStarter is considered how to get people kits that can help with tools. They can consider kits that help people to join several projects. There is a potential to give people set of instruments that can help them join a set of related project – the analysis from SciStarter can help in understanding which projects cluster. Instruments can be made more discoverable, and project owners should also know about the type of instruments that are available in other projects.

Getting It Right or Being Top Rank: Games in Citizen Science
Marisa Ponti*  – University of Gothenburg; Thomas Hillman – University of Gothenburg; Christopher Kullenberg – University of Gothenburg; Dick Kasperowski – University of Gothenburg. The study looks at the tension between science and games in citizen science. They look at Foldit and Galaxy Zoo. Assuming difference in the characteristics – they’ve done qualitative data in the Foldit forum and galaxy forum. Look for threads, and identified 15 threads (384 posts) in Foldit and 5  (189) in Galaxy zoo. The analysis identified 8 themes – they found the community appear a lot in Foldit more than galaxy zoo, while Foldit felt close. In games, there are issues with views that are concerned with community, cheating, and competition in Galaxy Zoo. In Foldit there are issues of fairness, and the scoring is concerned with a design that helps the scientific outcomes. There are mixed feeling about competition and sharing – they feel guarded and protective about the best technique. Galaxy zoo – we’re part of a great science project, not a game.. In Foldit, the chance of finding a real solution or getting lucky, but many are there for the game. Implications: important of implicit normative ideals of the science of participants; opposition between equality and meritocracy (Foldit); problematization of the dualism science vs game – but participants don’t necessarily accept it.

Another session was Breaking Down Walls to Science Practice  

The Challenges of Being a Citizen Researcher (‘Uh, Who Are You Exactly and Who Are You With???’)
Ed Harris – Scleroderma Education Project Ltd. Pointed the issue of credentials and there are problems in the medical field. He pointed to the experience of presenting a poster at a conference. Without credentials it is very difficult to get into a medical conference – even in a rare case where enough expertise are demonstrated, you can be denied entering the conference. But, sometimes ignorance is an advantage – for example, Ed contacted top journal editors with advice on a poster that he presented, something that his academic collaborators found surprising as it is “not to be done”. Unless you are not connected to a university you don’t have access to the actual article because of copyright restrictions. Need to find a way to convince publishers to allow specific individuals to access material. If you established expertise before the “who are you”, you consider better, but then if you try to lead, you get into problems, especially in the medical field. With credentials, suddenly things became easier.

Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy
Aletta Bonn* – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Aletta covered the outcomes from the ECSA conference. Citizen science can have high innovation potential – in social, political, environmental, environmental. She covered the policy process – from agenda citizen science to analysis of different projects. In almost 50% thought that they can provide an impact on policy – they can provide data, expertise, new questions, setting agenda. For example, the CHEST platform allows the development of new ways to fund and promote citizen science projects. There is also a role for citizen science in policy implementation and evaluation – so we can see innovations in working together with environment protection agency. There is a need to understand the areas in which citizen science is suitable. There are issues with innovation in open hardware and issues about potential data sources. In how citizen science is done is providing different view – the main wish is to see the data available publicly for other users – want to see people using it. We have ways of identifying good citizen science, with the ten principles of citizen science. The wider context is the awareness to responsible research and innovation, and the need to increase awareness of science with and for society.

Project slam

Mark2Cure: Learn, Work, Help
Max Nanis – The Scripps Research Institute. People who contribute are doing that for very personal goals and allow people to contribute by annotating biomedical text.

Floodcrowd: Sharing Observations of Floods to Help Research Their Causes and What We Can Do About Them
Avinoam Baruch – Loughborough University – if everyone that seen a flood shared it, we can have the ability to address them better. Citizen science through helps people record observations – using different observations from different systems.

City Nature Challenge
Alison Young – California Academy of Sciences – the City Nature Challenge is about linking cities around the world and carrying out activities using iNaturalist and collecting data for it – doing it in April over 5 days. Over 125,000 observation in 5 days, many new species that were never recorded. More than 4000 people participate, of which over half are new to iNaturalist. The 2017 City Nature Challenge.

Doing-it-Together Science: Amplifying & Cross-Pollinating Citizen & DIY Science in Europe
Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association – described the DITOs project and its goal. During her presentation, she asked people to tweet why they are coming together in the conference

Here some of the responses to the #DITscience challenge



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Professor of GIScience, University College London

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