Citizen Science: Innovation in open science, society and policy – a new open access book!

citizen_science Today marks the publication of the book “Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy“. The book emerged from the first conference of the European Citizen Science Association in Berlin, in 2016. While the summary of the conference is available in a journal article in Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, the book is an independent collection that goes beyond this specific event and providing a set of 31 chapters that cover different issues in the interface between citizen science, open science, social innovation, and policy.

Shortly after the conference, Aletta Bonn and Susanne Hecker, who coordinated it, suggested the development of a book that will capture the breadth of the field of citizen science that the conference exposed. Within a month, the editorial team which include Susanne Hecker, Anne Bowser, Zen Makuch, Johannes Vogel, Aletta Bonn, and myself started to work on the concept of the book and the appropriate publisher. We were committed to publishing the book as open access so it can be read by anyone who wishes it without limitations, and also so the chapters from it can be used widely. By publishing with UCL Press, which agreed to publish the book without charges, we had additional resources that we have used to work with Madeleine Hatfield of Yellowback to ensure that the book chapters are well edited and readable,and with Olaf Herling, a Berlin graphic designer, who helped us in developing and realising the graphic design of the book.

The chapters made quite a journey – they were submitted in late 2016, and were peer-reviewed and revised by mid-2017. As always with such an effort, there is a complex process of engaging over 120 authors, the review process, and then the need to get a revised version of the chapters. This required the editorial team to coordinate the communication with the authors and encourage them to submit the chapters (with the unavoidable extensions!). Once the chapters were in their revised form, they continued to be distilled – first with comments from the editorial guidance by Madeleine, but also with suggestions from Mark Chandler from Earthwatch, who provided us with an additional review of the book as a whole.

Susanne & Aletta in ECSA 2016

Susanne Hecker, the lead editor, put in a lot of time into communicating with the authors, the publishers, and the professional editors. Even as late as two months ago, we had the need to check the final proofs and organise the index. All that is now done and the book is out.

The book contains 31 chapters that cover many aspects of citizen science – from the integration of activities to schools and universities to case studies in different parts of the world.

Here is what we set out to achieve: “This book brings together experts from science, society and practice to highlight and debate the importance of citizen science from a scientific, social and political perspective and demonstrate the innovation potential. World-class experts will provide a review of our current state of knowledge and practical experience of citizen science and the delivery of will be reviewed and possible solutions to future management and conservation will be given. The book critically assesses the scientific and societal impact to embed citizen science in research as well as society.

The aim of this volume is to identify opportunities and challenges for scientific innovation. This includes discussions about the impact of citizen science at the science-policy interface, the innovative potential of citizen science for scientific research, as well as possible limitations. The emphasis will be to identify solutions to fostering a vibrant science community into a changing future, with actors from academia and society. Five main sections are envisaged with an editorial introduction and a thorough final synthesis to frame the book.

Innovation in Science: What are the governance and policy frameworks that will facilitate embedding citizen science in agenda setting, design and data collection of research projects and communication? What are innovation opportunities and challenges and where support is needed? How to ensure data quality and IP rights?

Innovation at the Science-Policy interface: What are the opportunities for citizen science to provide an input to better decision making? How is participation ensured across society and how does it lead to enhanced problem-solving?

Innovation in Society: How can citizen science lead to empowerment and enhanced scientific literacy and increase science capital? What is the social transformation potential impact of citizen science?

Innovation in Technology and Environmental Monitoring: What policy and technical issues citizen science and mobile sensor technology bring? How can it contribute to advances in environmental monitoring within existing and emerging regulations? What policy and practical framework can facilitate or harm this?

Innovation in Science Communication and Education: How have new media transformed science and what are the implication to scientists, public and science funders? How can new techniques open new opportunities and to whom? ”

The final book does not follow these exact sections, but the topics and questions are the same.

The book is free and you can now download it from UCL Press website – let us know what you think of it! 



Call for Participation in Vespucci Training School on Digital Transformations in Citizen Science and Social Innovation – January 2019

Apply until 31 October at 

The Role of Digital Technologies in Engaging Citizens (not only Citizen Scientists) in Social Innovation

Mini BioBlitz at Teppes de Verbois Nature ReserveWith the widespread availability of cheap, ubiquitous and powerful tools like the internet, the world-wide-web, social media and smartphone apps, new ways of carrying out both citizen science and social innovation have become possible. Often this means that barriers for citizens to engage in both science and social innovation have been lowered in terms of communication, outreach and scaling and thresholds for participation have also been lowered. There is an enormous potential for these technologies to strengthen the role of intermediary civil organizations and communities, and thereby to re-balance the playing field in favour of a broader range of actors – even those who do not use Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). ICTs can also help citizen engagement in policy framing by facilitating their involvement throughout the policy cycle, from agenda setting to service design and provision up to policy impact evaluation, creating new roles for stakeholders and enabling new power relations. However, digital technology should also be put in context, as it is often not leading edge but existing off-the-shelf technologies that are used in social innovation. Thus, technology must always be seen in its close intertwinement with the actual world of people, places, and digital skills people may or may not have.

Aim and Goals of the Training School

This training school is a five-day event for doctoral students, researchers, policymakers, civic entrepreneurs, designers, and civil servants who are interested in exploring and learning about:

  1. how citizen science can be understood and/or used as a strategic or intentional approach to social innovation;
  2. the intertwining of social innovation with socio-technical developments, including the impacts of digital transformation;
  3. the relationship between policy framing, participatory research, and social innovation.

All that, with the principles of the Vespucci Initiative – slow learning, long discussion, and collaborative learning where everyone is respected and expected to contribute and learn.

expected outcome(s) of the Training School:

Participants will learn about new forms of collaborative socio-technical development for social innovation, analyze case studies, and apply what they have learned by building a real collaborative socio-technical development for involving citizens and other stakeholders. As a result, participants will learn new skills and, more importantly, they will know new people, peers to collaborate with and/or other professionals who can help their projects.
The program is built upon three main tracks. The first three days will be devoted to introducing participants to these tracks (one track per day). The last two days will be devoted to group work.

  1. Overview of citizen science in research and innovation.
  2. Citizen science, social innovation, and policy-framing.
  3. Digital technologies in citizen science and social innovation: opportunities and risks.

Organization Committee:
Sven Schade, European Commission DG Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
Marisa Ponti, European Commission DG Joint Research Centre (JRC), Ispra, Italy
Cristina Capineri, University of Siena, Italy (local organiser)


  • Muki Haklay, University College London, UK
  • Mara Balestrini, CEO Ideas For Change, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
  • Stefan Daume, Founder and Chief Data Wrangler at the Scitingly Project, Stockholm Sweden
  • Sven Schade, JRC
  • Cristina Capineri, University of Siena, Italy
  • Marisa Ponti, JRC

A training school co-funded by JRC ( and COST Action 15212 Citizen Science to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe

Date: January 21-25, 2019
Venue: Fattoria di Maiano, Via Benedetto da Maiano, 11, 50014 Fiesole FI, Italy
Nearest airports: Florence and Pisa; Nearest railway station: Florence.
Language of the training school: English
Maximum Number of Participants: 20

Apply until 31 October at – You don’t need to be part of the Cost Action on citizen science to apply! 

More information is available here.

Non-traditional data approaches and the Sustainable Development Goals workshop

The workshop took place in IIASA, which is located in Laxenburg in Austria. The workshop was hosted by the earth observation and citizen science group at IASSA. The workshop focus on the interface between citizen science, earth observation, and traditional data collection methods in the context of monitoring and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A contextual/perspective academic paper is an expected output of the workshop, so this post is only a summary of the opening presentations. There is also an overlap with the aim of the WeObserve project and the communities of practice in it.

The Earth Observation community geared up already to how it can contribute to the SDGs. EuroGEOSS workshop identified several SDGs where there can be a contribution of citizen science: No. 3 in wealth and wellbeing (e.g. greenspace in cities), No. 4 on quality of education, No. 5 in gender equality, No. 6 on water quality and flood management, No. 11 on sustainable cities – air quality, noise, empty houses, No. 14 – plastics, and No. 15 in species monitoring, disease, and finally on Global Partnership (No. 17).

DSCN3119Australian Citizen Science Association view – some awareness to SDGs and few projects that are linked to SDGs explicitly, though there is an issue of details. From the US CSA, the view is that there are projects that can be linked – water monitoring, CoCoRHaS, phenology, and eBird. Examples also include grassroots environmental monitoring, or the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team. CitizenScience.Asia is a new network – in the context of China, people collect data to understand the environment, to collect evidence and protect rights, and for pure curiosity. The Blue-map used to report water pollution, it then goes to the government, and after being vetted it is shown, and some of it does not show. There are contributory DNA commercial project, but also “China Nature Watch” or Bauhinia Genome project that asks people to share information in Hong Kong. There are bottom-up projects, which include selling test kits for water which is used by people who share it on an online map – after 400-500 data points, the website was shut down by the government. There is also links to Public Lab – creating an automatic water monitor for flow. DSCN3122 Citizen Science Africa Association (CitSAF) – in Kenya the SDGs is getting attention (following the MDGs). NGOs activities are not synced with the government. Government pay attention to health, water, and education. CitSAF emerged from links to UNEP and focused on Kenya – air quality, some research on Malaria, and they can see interest in Nigeria, South Africa and other countries. CitSAF wants to increase the involvement and responsibility of citizens in African countries towards their natural and socio-cultural environment, especially in monitoring the SDGs. The SDG/CS Maximisation group which works across the citizen science associations (which Libby Hepburn coordinates) pointed out that the challenge is the bottom-up – from practitioners, and top-down from the UN and different countries. There is work on the credibility aspects of citizen science. There are is a need for facilitation between the CS community and the SDG community to progress things. The Citizen Science Global Partnership – launched in December 2017, as a network of networks to support citizen science activities. The global partnership has ideas and interest in working with the SDG but they are aspirational at the moment. They include – a platform for coordinating citizen science under the banner of SDG.

The Stockholm Environment Institute analysis of citizen science and SDGs: SEI has worked on environment/development over 30 years with many participatory activities, and worked explicitly on citizen science for the past 10 years. In the analysis they identified that citizen science can be used to refine and define goals; then monitoring; and even for achieving – e.g. in education, gender. The Citizen Science Centre in Zurich focuses on a platform – to allow projects, knowledge in the area, community of citizens and scientists, and projects. The open seventeen challenge is a good example for challenge-based workshops that help people to develop projects. There is an aim for developing an SDG citizen science toolkit. The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has created an inventory of citizen science activities and mapping them against the SDGs with results being published soon. In addition, there is an effort of a standard for citizen science data and metadata with links to COST Action effort. There is a potential for recording aspects of participants if that is appropriate in the metadata. There is a specific effort of developing guidelines for environmental reporting in a process that will allow it to be cross EU.

SDSN – Sustainable Development Solution Network set up by the UN for the implementation of the sustainable development, with 800 members of universities, and other groups. Within that, the TRENDS group focuses on data governance? How people can integrate data from new sources. 20 expert members and focus on strengthening the data ecosystem, improve learning and data sharing, developing policies, and inform investment. The work is framed around data governance and use. The POPGRID project is attempting to reconcile different sources of data to get good population estimates. Another UN effort is the UN-GGIM have done work on identifying geospatial sources that can be used in SDG with an analysis to understand the indicators at different tiers – the There is an opportunity to understand which indicators information is considered relevant, and where are data gaps. The thinking about crowdsourced and citizen science data is how to find it how to have metadata, understanding comparability and good usability for an SDG indicator. The is an issue about the global spatial data infrastructure for citizen science and crowdsourced data. There is a need to budget for data management, metadata recording and sharing of information from crowdsourced projects. There is a call for good practises and lessons learnt about the SDG indicators in the sustainable development knowledge platform.

UN Environment pointed that the SDGs includes 244 indicators, and they were developed through the inter-agency and expert group on SDG indicators (IAEG-SDG). The custodian agency is developing a methodology, improving capacity, and getting and using the data. The three types of data include country submission of data, data that is complimented with international estimates, and some global data products. There is an effort to consider a mapping exercise and then think where it can be used. A way forward is to identify one indicator, and try to get it accepted – need to be Tier 3. So the opportunity for citizen science is in an indicator that needs to be tier 3, but without an internationally established methodology or standard.


Communities of practice of citizen science – workshops, meetings, and conferences

It’s now about two months since the intensive 10 days at the beginning of June, which included attending the workshop Science and Dissent, the ECSA conference, the follow-up COST Action on citizen science meeting, and the Ecsite conference. Shortly after, I  attended the UNECE 22nd Working Group of Parties to the Aarhus Convention. June ended with a long meeting of the Doing It Together Science consortium to plan the last year of the project. Participating in so many meetings is an overwhelming experience, which takes time to process and reflect on. But a promise for the OPENER project for a reflection that is relevant to the topic of the project – the idea of a community of practice around public engagement and in particular environmental citizen science – provide a reason to consider “what kind of a community of practice was demonstrated in each event?“. I’m not trying to compose here an insight on the nature of communities of practice but just a description of where things are right now.

A Community of Practice (CoP) is “groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” and the different formats of the meetings provided the physical space and temporal co-location for people to come together.

The meetings are of very different sizes: from the over thousand participants in Ecsite, to the 15 or so participants in DITOs meeting. Those different sizes lead to different possible interactions and linking up with people, but in each case, it wasn’t only a single CoP in action, and that becomes clearer with the growth in size since people come together. The COST action meeting, although bring about 150 people, was very distributed, with each working group (where people with similar interest discuss their research) talking in their room with only short interactions with other people during coffee breaks.

All these meetings brought together people with a shared interest in citizen science to some degree and in different ways. In “Science and Dissent”, it was historians of science who are researching citizen science, while in ECSA conference, a lot of people who research and organise citizen science projects came together. Ecsite conference focus on science centres and science museums, so only some of the people there have a strong interest in citizen science (I’d guess that about 100 to 200 were interested in “Citizen Science on Trial“). There were overlaps between the people that participated in this series of events, but the “Ven diagram” of participation across them, end up being fairly small. I see that as evidence that while the interest in citizen science is reaching different groups and CoP, the number of people that cross boundaries between them is small.

Another question is the equity in participation. What was especially interesting is to see that the communities of the COST Action and ECSA conference do not completely overlap, but that might be the results of the costs, affordability, and length of travel. The ECSA conference requires people to book travel, hotel, and conference, while COST covers the costs of travel. This brings to the fore questions about resources (in time and in money) that shape the interactions within a CoP – for example, in participating in ECSA AGM and voting on specific decisions.

Finally, it is also interesting to see how different modalities of formalism and practices play out in each meeting, with the UNECE meeting, naturally, being at the formal end – and yet, you could see that some people in the room have been working together for a very long time and are a very tight CoP on public access to environmental information; to the ECSA conference, which is fairly open, but developing new ways of working and agreeing on common issues, where there is familiarity, but as a relatively young organisation, there are many newcomers.

Finally, it is also worth noting that amongst the meeting, there was also a launch of three CoPs that are dedicated to citizen observatories as part of the WeObserve project.





Ecsite 2018 – Day 2: technology advocacy, evolution, citizen science in parody trial, and DITOs

The second day of Ecsite 2018 included several interesting sessions (here is day 1) which includes a morning discussion about the role of science centres and museum in the public discussion of science and technology, a parody trial of citizen science, and a discussion on the nature of multi-country projects, where I gave a presentation of the Doing It Together Science (DITOs) as an example.

Technology advocates or whistleblowers?

DSCN2809Laurent Chicoineau (Quai des savoirs, TOULOUSE France) – his first experience with the challenges of communicating science and technology was in Grenoble with protests against nano-technology in the 1990s. At the time, the science centre explored the different views about it through an exhibition, public discussions, etc. The view from the government was that science communication was failed, as it didn’t convince the public that nanotech is good. In Toulouse, they made an exhibition in which people could choose from 15 innovations – people were more interested in medical innovation, and not in the one about enhanced- or trans-humanism. In a cartoon representation of the development of science and technology, it was asked: “why the future taste like bleach?” – it is a view of technology that emphasises clean and organised future. instead, thinking about Balck Mirror as an inspiration, and then have a story with a weird situation and then use them as a provocation to make people think and discuss potential future.

DSCN2810Ian Brunswick (Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin) – he takes the view that science centres should be more whistleblowers – problems such as climate change, environmental and other issues are social problems and therefore require social awareness. We should provoke people – the view that privatisation of space exploration is championed well enough – e.g. Elon Musk, so the centres should be raising challenges. If we don’t do that, we leave the critique of the future to populists. We should ask about various aspects of current technological developments – e.g. if the AI can write articles, poetry, or art. There are issues of sustainability – e.g. lead-free bullets that can be used without contaminating the water table. Or asking questions about 3D printed guns that show the potential of technology. or issues of climate change – in Climate Bureau that was pointing to a discussion about the winners and losers and profiteering from it. Each glimpse to a wider issue, we want people to make people feel.

Herbert Muender (Universum Managements GmbH, Bremen Germany) running a science centre in an area surrounded by technology and science companies and universities. The question is the topic is controversy – do the visitors understand our views? AI was mentioned and need to think about its current impact. For example, how much news is written by journalists: about 65% of news is now written or produced by bots. The understanding of what it means, and what Deep Learning mean? There is an issue that technology is running faster and faster and science centres cannot follow it up. Are they well informed about it or need to raise the information about the dangers and challenges? When it comes to fake news and science, the science centre is a trusted place and we need to consider the pro and cons. In Bremen, they experience fight over animal testing, and the scientist had to be protected by the Police, and the dialogue broke. Issues about anti-vaccination: what shall they do about it if the issue will come up? If we are talking about probabilities of 1% of a problem, how do we explain it to the public? Mentioning that media need to highlight minority position in order to raise their sales – and this is not wrong, it is how the process work and they have to accept it.

Joanna Kalinowska (Copernicus Science Centre, Poland) led the discussion: There are other positions in the spectrum and society have a great ability to absorb science – e.g. the change in the acceptance of surgery. At the London Science Museum – when there is new science, they present multiple views, and if something is controversial, they tend to take them away for a dialogue. Also created a situation that people will have to take a side and protest their side. In Science Gallery Dublin, the issue of climate science – they scientists requested the respect of the public and not their trust. They consider that the scientists don’t have their interests at heart – the one to one conversations are more effective. Another experience is seeing data that is pushed by companies that are driving specific views from companies – they also fund exhibitions and influence the funding. The limitation of the approach of Science Gallery Dublin with a more provocation approach is that beyond the creation of feeling and connections to the topic, it is the need for people to give them knowledge, but don’t link it to action – sometimes pointing to events that are linked to it. Museums and Galleries should be safe space for controversial topics. Discussions about vaccines require a safe space to be discussed and provide the range of information that is coming from it.

We need to consider what the protest is about – for example the French protest about nano-tech was there mostly about the model of industrial development and the role of public research in society. Science is not neutral or value-free. Another view: science centres do not have the expertise to judge on an issue, and they don’t have the ability to set the views. Issues of public

Public engagement with evolution: beyond giraffes and genes

DSC_0736.JPGJustin Dillon (University of Exeter) seeing evolution as a fundamental concept in science and the job is to engage people with a proper understanding of evolution. From our own experience, there are different ways of understanding how it works and what works and what doesn’t work. The session will allow different conversations with panellists.

Tania Jenkins (EvoKE- Evolutionary Knowledge for Everyone | SCNAT) Coordinating the Evoke project, and there is a basic understanding in scientific circles about giraffes and finches, and similar things. In the public imagination, it is about human evolution of religious beliefs. The evoke is trying to demonstrate that it is relevant to everyday life – from vaccines to climate change and biodiversity, The project is about engaging many researchers in information and formal education – COST Action 17127 is dedicated to the citizen engagement with evolution. The discussion that she led was solution-oriented – thinking about analogies: not believing in evolution, but about engaging in something like language. There is a potential interaction with kids and can classify things. There’s a major misconception that evolution is slow, not only antibiotics, and the way things evolve and not the linear view of evolution.

Maartje Kijne (Naturalis Biodiversity Center Leiden) Running a workshop with families, and doing work on their ancestors (in terms of human evolution) and dealing with people that are critical with evolution and with science. The discussion concludes that we recognise critical people – they deny what you’re saying, or ask for a proof. With people who deny things, you can explain the scientific process, seek common ground, point that evolution is not disconnected from faith. No awareness of micro and macro aspects of evolution.

Yamama Naciri (Corvatoire & Jardin botaniques de Genève) Geneticist, and working on the interface between population genetics and in the reconstruction of the trees of life, and specification. In the botanical gardens, they are thinking about the creation of an evolutionary trail – how interaction can increase the participant experience. Discussed in the group that facilitators have an important role, and engage in a discussion. Having evolutionary biologist in the exhibition can allow them to give facts, and less engage too deeply in a discussion and step back when things are too antagonistic. It is really important to explain the rules before the beginning of the workshop or the tour. Can be valuable to work with small children, especially with immigrant communities.

Henrik Sell (Natural History Museum, Aarhus) and would like to discuss how to make an exhibition about evolution – many people that visit the museum believe in evolution, and about 10% reject it – the visitors already believe in the issues that are presented to them. How to engage with people who are not accepting the theory? Should their view present? Especially when it comes to human evolution there are people who express their view that it is incompatible with their religious belief and then shut down. Use examples that are contemporary, e.g. demonstrate with dogs evolution. Provide historical perspective.

Citizen science on trial (parody trial)

DSC_0738.JPGSharon Ament (Museum of London) convened and chaired the session – A case of this magnitude requires a jury, that will make a decision about the case. The question that we are asking: is citizen science a robust model that is going to stay, or is it just a fashion that is going to go away like many other fashions in the past.

Aliki Giannakopoulou (Ellinogermaniki Agogi SA) plaintiff – arguing the citizen science – this case is not about citizen science but about citizen scientists. They are white, male, untrained, and anonymous. In many cases, there are bad intentions, and when it is implemented, it leads to ethical and legal questions. Are we take advantage when it is supposed to be democratic? Is it in a world that so many people are left behind is citizen science creating a barrier? scientists in most citizen science do not even interact with people. Citizen science is serving institutional goals of getting work for free, participants are not engaged in other public engagement activities. Not enough evaluation of citizen science is available, not enough about the ethical issues with it. We live in a time of big data – are people that are downloading an app really contribute to sign? The ICT doesn’t make people into scientists? What about the risks and the security of the participant.

DSCN2816Brad Irwin, (The Natural History Museum, London) defence  – an outdated opening statement – we heard that citizen science is the domain of old white male scientists. One of the most important new forms of science engagement. Will demonstrate that citizen science is contributing to world-class science, and engaging the public that takes part. It is engaging the public in dealing with the big issues that are facing the world. People are involved in collecting the data and finding ways to address these problems. It is here to stay.

DSCN2821The first witness for the persecution: Justin Dillon – is citizen science real science? the answer is No – science is a relatively complex process of systematically building knowledge, and make a model of how the world works, and then experimenting on real-world phenomena. If the prediction of the model matches the experiment, the model is held, and otherwise, it fails. That is what scientists do. Counting the number of eggs in a nest is is not science – looking at galaxies on the screen is not science. Need to remove the science from citizen science. Volunteers who are doing valuable work for scientists who don’t want to pay – citizen slavery or citizen technician.  What about the quality of the data? (laughter from the witness) scientists require so many volunteers is that because of the quality of the data is so poor, and therefore need to have so many of them to get it right. Generally, the quality of the data is poor. Final question: are citizen scientists acknowledge on publications? You would expect them to be on the list of authors – since the scientists are not considering as real scientists, they leave it to a footnote. Using the brochure of Spotteron to point that the people who are doing citizen science don’t look like scientists.

Defence interrogation of the witness: made a claim that people don’t have better things to do with their time – is there something better thing than to contribute to science? Answer – maybe they can’t do something better. The citizen scientists are not scientists and therefore can’t do science – and using the example from a paper by Dillon on “moving from citizen to civic science to address wicked conservation problems“.

Walter Staveloz – are citizen science project inclusive? 80% are white middle-class people, other people are not included. The whole approach is to tell people what to do because scientists know better – this is the deficit model all over again. Need further steps to make people know what they are doing, which a lot of time is not the case. Defence – regular science is white, can we first change the paradigm. Citizen Science can create an illusion that they participate in something meaningful way in science, and many times when people collect data they don’t know what do with it.

Matteo Merzagora – advocate a science that is useful for the whole society. Science needs to be independent and challenge societal values, not like what RRI call for science that is aligned with society. I want to challenge technology development. When we talk about citizen science we assume activists. Actually, citizen science is a trojan horse for market-driven science. The knowledge that Google is producing is based on co-production of knowledge? Is the new way of using us is done in collaboration with citizens, and it is market driven and an example of the issue.

DSCN2823Jim Browton (NHM) – the NHM in London is trying to get with citizen science – believe in the universality of experience and building knowledge. The citizen science project – Microverse is aimed at micro-fauna of cities and help people to discover real health issues that affect communities in the UK. The participation of schools is not in volunteering, so is that citizen science?.

Marianne Achiam – Citizen science can be exclusive – this is not a problem of citizen science, there are projects that are skewed and we should not leave the field. A project in the University of Copenhagen that is focused on ant include a significant outreach. Properly design citizen science can be inclusive indeed. Evaluation is important, and research is more important – we missing knowledge on how citizen science work and how it should work.

DSCN2828Caren Cooper – it is incorrect to say that citizen science is not real science: half of what we know about climate change on migratory birds is from citizen science, also an amateur astronomer who published a paper. There are many types of citizen science: there are citizen science projects that are community driven, and they are hard to quantify.

Prosecution questions: does this make the participants – they are citizen scientists and not scientists. It’s a different way to contribute to science.

Final prosecution statement: propose to ban large project and focus on the small projects, be really participatory and stop calling it citizen science. Defence: citizen science – we heard from people that are writing one thing in the trial but write up something.

The verdict: the case for the defence, to be clear the jury of the opinion is that citizen science is important, but the jury wants to say that citizen science should be inclusive of all communities and need to work to do it so. The science element should be robust. The citizen bit needs to be participatory and meaningful.

Multi-country science engagement programmes

This was a short session (45 minutes) that discussed four examples of multi-country projects in the area of science communication. Details about the session are here. The session was in a short Pecha Kucha style, with 15 slides that progress every 20 seconds, and I’ve used it to describe Doing It Together Science (DITOs) is a 3-year project, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme, that is aimed to increase awareness of and participation in citizen science across Europe and beyond. It is focused on communication, coordination, and support of citizen science activities. Therefore, the project promotes the sharing of best practices among existing networks for a greater public and policy engagement with citizen science through a wide range of events and activities.

Co-designing the Citizen Science Global Partnership

DSC_0691.JPGThe workshop on the Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP) – the workshop included people from US, Brazil, Equador, Australia, UK, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Austria, as well as UNESCO. A range of interests in terms of citizen science activities – from health to ecological observations. Martin Brocklehurst summarised where we are – in the UNEA3: there was a range of representative and at the end of a session a statement made a statement about the need for citizen science and coordination at the global level. The role of this partnership is to provide a coordination point for global organisations that are linked to a different association in different parts of the world, following the UN structure.dsc_0692.jpg Creating consortia for a global programme with similar research; support the collection of exchange of open, interoperable, and FAIR data, and understand and track how citizen science contributes to the SDGs. Wilson Center in DC offers an institutional home. Currently, the scope of projects that were put forward in a survey includes about 7 global scope projects and many single projects in specific countries or regions that can be part of the initiative. The common themes across projects are sustainable development goals – organisations that specifically looking at them, e.g. Citizen Science Centre Zurich. There there are an offering of technological assistant. there are conversation internally and externally in the citizen science community to address the SDGs and as we go lower than big institutions globally, there is less awareness, we need to consider a 13 years process and increase strength at a global scale and propose for creating a working group on the topic. Some of the challenges for the partnership is establishing a governance structure to think how to address requests and approaches, and that might be organised with individual volunteering to put an effort in the partnership but having some agreed ToR with their association. There are opportunities with the Geneva effort on Open17 which already have linked with UN, WHO and others. There is a website – there will be a discussion forum that will require moderation and probably need to allow for closed conversations about it.

DSC_0693.JPGAnother challenge is the aims of coordination of communication – to UN, businesses etc. Need to help to establish new networks in new places. The participants in the meeting concluded that the top priority is network and lead consortia for global projects. Future meetings might coincide with international conferences that are linked to UN and the global data forum.

European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) 2018 conference – day 1: keynotes, education, and national & international programmes


Notes from the European Citizen Science Association Conference in Geneva, 4-5 June. Welcome to the conference! Katrin Vohland, ECSA Vice Chair, (DE) – conferences started from volunteering by Science et Cité two years ago. ECSA has been growing through participation in projects, and this allows ECSA to do things such as the conference and other networking activities – including Doing It Together Science, LandSense, and D-Noses, as well as the COST Action. The first H2020 application that was coordinated by ECSA is out and waiting for a decision. We can project different aspects to citizen science – see it between healing promise and ignorance – policymakers are paying attention it, and some are hoping that it will help in linking science and society. But participation information shows that we have involvement of the educated elite and this requires attention to inclusiveness. There is also the Neoliberal trap – competition and monetisation are appearing in academia, in concepts of nature, and citizen science is somewhere in between – participants carry out their work for free but it is also providing space for doing science that is not linked to financial constraints which can be seen as accepting such condition. However,  how citizen science can provide new routes for science? ECSA is one expression of the concept of Europe – cross-national system, and it is a way of strengthening European networks. There are now increasing the range of network, such as the global citizen science partnership.

Thomas Zeltner, President of the Foundation Science et Cité,
ECSA2018 Team, (CH) – on behalf of the local organisation: welcoming participants. The conference is a public and private partnership which we can see in the sponsorship. Science et Cité celebrate 20 years – communicating and dialoguing the part of science, art, society linkage in Switzerland. It is the importance of having a dialogue between science and society. Authoritarian regimes don’t need science – they do what they want, whereas, in a democracy, we need dialogue between public and science and providing evidence to help progressing issues. Switzerland direct democracy put in questions such as prescribing heroin to drug addicts which are complex issue – and with appropriate communication, there was a vote for it, and then issues about deciding how that happens, and this involved the local public of the centres reporting about their experience. A lot of issues are about this science/society dialogue – science finds new answers for the future, and bring them to the political debate. The organisation is now working in three domains: face to face interactions – scientists need to expose themselves to the public, and learn about the public, while the public understands the person behind the science. Second, using social networks technologies to create a dialogue between science and the public. Finally, learning networks – need for universities and research to learn how to communicate with the public.

Keynote: Citizen Science? Rethinking Science and Public Participation
Bruno J. Strasser (CH) 


Let’s Mainstream Citizen Science! Steffen Fritz DE
Promoting Awareness, Acceptability and Sustainability through WeObserv

Keynote: Shannon Dosemagen – Citizen Science and grassroots organisation 

An experience of integrating  communities in rural areas that don’t have access to resources. a lot of the work end being analougue to address gaps in technology ability and use – solid plan on how things will continue. The difference between equity and equality you can see different people that are supported in different ways – for example working closely with people that are in disadvantage and not treating them in the same way as everyone else. The engagement of scientists – there are valuable things that can come from the classroom and guidance ahead of time, and helping students to drop layers of expertise and listen and learn. What is the answer about the risk and challenge to professional researchers? the source for the reduction in journalism is not because of citizen journalism and the change in data production by communities is not about challenging journalism but adressing journalism deserts

Speed Talks: Education & Learning I

Julie Sheard DK Get them while they’re young – an effort in Denmark to identify invasive speicies. Experiments in which young people are involved in collecting samples of ants and then send them to the museum for idntification. They’ve done an effort of outreach, with lots of experiments that involve schools – 356 experiments that involved thousands of people. Children can do science and wotking with knowledgable staff incrases participation, it can help working with other organisations.

DSC_0646.JPGLucy Robinson et al. UK Learn CitSci: Exploring youth learning – through participation in CS – presenting as part of a wider partnerships. what and how young people learn in citizen science. The Natural History Museum are good places to link learning to citizen science. Potential to have a wider role in society. The question is about the impact of the learning programme. The current project look at online, direct learning and use observations and learning analytics. For the participation they use the Envrionmental Science Agency – for example, someone joins the project, understand science content and norms, then developing roles and science practice – supporting new participants and finally studying astronomy. Cultural-Historical Activity Theory looks at different aspects of the learning process. They will be use the ability of three museums to design new activities and then see how this will work and the project linking educational research with practitioners who are running citizen science projects.

DSC_0647.JPGTania Jenkins – Evoke project which is a project about scientific literacy: important about dealing with different issues – for most people evolution don’t necessarily make sense. It is a cornerstone of modern biology – “nothing in biology make sense except in the light of evolution” and want to show that evolution is relevant for decisions of food, managing the environment and so on. There different stakeholders – researchers, evolutionary researchers, etc. The eVoKE project brought 90 people from 15 countries and grown to over 250 people in 31 countries and ideas that grow to 7 associated projects – including evolution was reignited.

DSC_0649.JPGSilvia Winter AT CS in the classroom: empowering students – personal experience in Austria in a biodiversity area. Mentioned many challenges in school context – the students are not completely volunteering, logistic limitations, and other challenges. The strengths include the students enjoy observing and exploring nature, especially charismatic species. Typical tasks include different roles of teachers – from identifying the activity to dealing with logistics. An online survey of 581 biology teachers show 51% working on biodiversity projects, and they had to deal with little interest of students, high workload nad other challenges. There was a specific teaching programme in Austria to teach teachers on citizen science. There are different success factors – the commitment of the teachers is crucial, there is a need to identify something that can be observed, that the task is clear. It is possible to offer training courses.


Dialogue Session: National & International Networks

Gisela Wachinger DE How can scientists aid citizens to ensure
their contributions matter in scientific research? examples of projects across the research cycle and understanding the issues of quality control, thinking about the gap between citizens and scientists. Different experiences and issues of belief, interests etc. The job of the scientists should help to make the data better. OPAL as an example of top-down and bottom-up, which happen because of non-traditional funding source. Need to consider in-between people. All scientists are citizens but in science we are nomadic – because of the citizenship that we bring to the table.

Francisco Sanz ES Spanish actions on CS at national level – exploring the national plans and projects, and how it is developing. A national project in Spain to look at issues of communication plan, technical support and learning from other areas projects.

Daniel Dörler et al. AT Österreich forscht: the Austrian CS platform – started with roadkil and as a phD student wanted help in establishing citizen science (florian), there were a lot of project on volunteering in science and contact other related project and used the term to invite other people – from 9 projects in 2015 to 50, now go funding to carry out the work. 30% from humanities and social science – appeared in the conference that they carried out. The conference to exchange experience of project coordinators. The early part was actively searching for project, and now people are joining in and there is a collabortion with the government backed platform for citizen science. The centre of citizen science only publish projects that they are funding (by the government) and the network is doing it for the whole countries. Most people who get in touch with the platform want to get more participants and from the knowledge on how to communicate, how to engage, there are also working groups on quality, but also on other issues. In annual meeting they ask for things and work in a do-ocracy: expecting people to invest. One position and not much funding but a lot of volunteering effort. There is a working group on open data. There is an open access, and

David Ziegler DE Bürger schaffen Wissen – the platform for citizen science in Germany. Information about the project can be found through search engine, sharing newsletters, helping projects through science communication, linking to scientific issues to the scientists who can asnwer. Funded by the ministry of research and education – as projects: 3 years every time. Also working on building a coalition to support the future of citizen science in Germany. One full time communication person, and half time researcher, budget below 200,000 EUR as direct funding, and the growth of the field is creating a challenge. There are more projects that apply to be part of the platform than the ability to absorb them, check them that they are bone fide. 102 projects, and some project finished – 3000 unique visitors a month. 40% of projects don’t have university or resarch organisations that join in. Organise a conference once a year – citizen science forum, 2016 – 180, 2017 – 120, expecting 200 this year, and high turnover in terms of participation in the forum. There is less

Alison Parker et al. US CS at US Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology. An advisory body for the US EPA, ther are barriers of figuring out the resources and the vision to carry out citizen science in the organisation. This is a complex topic to understand in different situation. There are views about putting power to people and giving them the responsibility to deal with their issues. There are different roles of environmental protection agency – for example the UK environment gency have been looked t citizen science and using it for investigation, and the goal is to collect the data to integrate data from citizen sciecne and other bodies. The EA get more information than what they have, especially with their funding. The Scottish EPA has committed to strategically include citizen science, similarly in Finland that moved into the way the organisation work. Citizen science might give you data that you might don’t want – need to be clear about the two way information from the organisation to people. Matching citizen science that reduce regulation costs while providing support to reduce risk