As part of the Swedish presidency of the European Union, an event on the 16th May focused on open science from policy to practice. The event marked the end of the Mutual Learning Exercise (MLE) on citizen science initiatives.
There are several useful outputs that were shared at this final event, with a lot of relevance to the wider participatory science, citizen science, and science communication and engagement communities.
First, there is a final report which was led by Margaret Gold: The final report of the MLE present a summary of the learning and recommendations generated throughout the year-long process through the lens of the backcasting approach to strategic planning, to serve as an inspiration, guide and resource for national policy makers and other key actors in the national science landscape.
Of all of these recommendations for action, the four most impactful recommendations that have been supported across all of the thematic topics are to:
* Ensure that Citizen Science practitioners – in academia (top-down), in society (bottom-up), in policy (collaborative) and in the private sector (collaborative) – are supported by a national network of practitioners to share knowledge, form partnerships, and further develop best practice;
* Ensure that dedicated funding instruments can provide financial support to the places where it is most needed (especially to societal partners) in order to enable new initiatives to get off the ground and to provide ongoing funding or scaling-up funding for successful initiatives. These instruments should allow sufficient flexibility for co-creational approaches to be implemented.
* Enable the culture change required to open up science and the scientific process more fully to the participation of citizens, societal actors, and civil society organisations for the benefit of research quality, policy impact, and improved societal welfare; and
* Enable the establishment and ongoing iterative development of key supportive infrastructure such as data-gathering tools and platforms, data analysis and visualisation tools, data hosting and archiving, and domain-specific research infrastructures.
Two other outputs came out with the final report. A policy brief that describes the main policy recommendations of the MLE. This brief is taking the outcomes from all the thematic reports and put them in one place. There is also a guide for the backcasting method. Finally, a video that describes the process.