Platforms for citizen science

A CRI-MusĂ©um national d’Histoire naturelle workshop: created by Anshu (CRI long term fellow) and Simon (MNHN), from a meeting at the Galaxy community in Freiburg. I joined the design process and it was structured so the museum and the CRI present the systems that are being developed, with a scope for a discussion about lessons and collaboration. Here are the details of the workshop on the CRI website. These are the rough notes from the workshop.

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Ariel Lindner – since the first major grant of the CRI (Citizen Cyberlab), there is an interest at the CRI in digital platforms for engagement. At the same time, they received a grant to innovate in education, and since then the CRI has become a centre for learning sciences and research with a link between learning, digital sciences, and life sciences. The principles are mentorship/empowerment, the right to err, and share. For CRI, open science means transparency and collaboration. Few of the important things for the day: gaps – distances between public and research which can grow and there is distrust, but on the other hand, kids are going to the street with an issue that is scientific. There are digital gaps, instrumentation in labs that are more complex and not available within the scientific community. We need to consider how we address the gaps – how a collaborative approach can help us to progress.

I covered the ExCiteS platforms and some of my experience from different collaborative platforms that we developed in ExCiteS. The slides are provided below.

DSC_0073Romain Julliard: citizen science: [Big] quality data and [Artificial] collective intelligence. The museum created over 15 years of experience, over 15 projects, with over 15,000 active participants a year. All part of the National Museum of Natural History role to the monitoring of biodiversity through citizen science. They see the projects as volunteers, scientific experts and NGOs facilitators. There are projects such as Spipoll which is the photography of insects pollinators – it is difficult to take a picture: quite challenging. The. A positive correlation between longevity of engagement and data quality. Finding the zone of flow as in computer game. Identify the skills that are required from the participants and communicate with them. The second lesson is the importance of the social platform and communication among the project participants to improve data quality control – participants are “policing” each other and guide the process of improvement of data quality. There is a comparative study that demonstrated that the visibility of data and the ability of participants to learn from each other is critical in term of following the protocol and producing relevant data. They learned that making data visible by all allows imitation and more homogenous data. Comments and discussion allow advice and help and quality control. There is also an improvement that is made by the contributor through versioning. There are differences to textbook statements: e.g. that data observations should be independent of each other, that there is a need to train participants in advance. They recommend imitation, allow participants to engage with each other and have shared a part in the QA. The project 65 Millions d’observateurs is a project with major funding and they are creating a common system for data collection. They have a common approach across projects – they are currently working on shared infrastructure for citizen science projects. One project is an open observatory for all species with over 146 different sub-projects. They are creating a new service unit MOSaic with Sorbonne to provide ongoing skils on technology for citizen science, with over 15 people covering a range of skills.
DSC_0074Simon BĂ©nateau / Galaxy-Bricks: Toward collaborative data analysis – creating tools for analysing the data. The tool is aiming to allow share and make errs, and the aim to create communities. The citizen science is diverse – from high schools students to experts, working on environmental issues and on organisms. Some people with very little knowledge to quite a high level of expertise. The process includes in the network that Museum that works through protocols and data with participants. There is also for researchers and partners in the scientific community. It allows for new ways to participate and ask questions of the data. They also want to help in teaching the scientific approach, and data literacy.  Choosing Galaxy mean that there is an existing development community, they support sharing of the methodology, it is FAIR, open-source, and even provide access to high-performance computing. Their aim is to simplify the UI and allow to simplify the process of constructing an analysis workflow. Using Scratch which is a development of an analysis process that is suitable for learning. The process includes following the structure of scientific research: setting your research question, import data, process data, visualise, carry out statistical tests, and reach conclusions.

DSC_0075Eric Cherel: The Learning Planet – the team at CRI trying to build tools that can help a model campus digital infrastructure – from tactile information screens and other tools that can be used elsewhere. There are learning tools that are supposed to be empowering the community. The project system on the CRI is used to present the project – who you are working with, what you are working on, linking to different tools. The tools that are used to create descriptions of projects: from small to large and help to relate projects. The global project WeLearn is to catalyse learning. currently a browser extension – when you come across it, you mark a source as a learning source. The system tries to extract the concept from the page, but also with crowdsourcing and it creates a global map (currently in French and English). It also creates a profile of the learner, so it might be able to match learners with the material. A lot of potential to map learning resources on a massive scale. They use cartography of concepts as a way to present to people their topics and learning. They use Wikipedia to train an ML model and analysing a way to extract concepts. They work with people from data4good who helped. Linking to EdTech companies to share ontologies and abilities to manage concepts. Integrating the use of smartphone can allow capturing of books and other not online learning resources and events.  Aim to add more information to support reflexivity, recommendation, self-documented learning. Hope to reach out to EdTechm Wikipedia and open science platform.

DSC_0071Anshu Bhardwaj: Collaborative Tools to Accelerate Infectious Disease Research. The projects that she aims at are researchers, undergrad, industry – they will have some knowledge in the area before joining the project. In particular, she works on drug discovery. TB is an example of the issue with antibiotic resistance. Drug discovery is a complex, risky process with a high attrition rate. It takes 12-15 years from idea to drug and it is very expensive. There is a need for a wide range of skills. Within the pharma industry is that failures are not shared. Within an open-source drug discovery information and failures are shared and allowing learning. The open innovation model allows for creating a collaborative platform. Sysborg 2.0 – point of contact for idea, data, result and peer-review platform that allow for improvement. It allows a project management system, a social network to find peers. There are 13 functions and a social network type page. There is also a need to manage micro-attribution – to allow recognising small contributions. They created the portal from a range of open-source tools – Galaxy, DoProject, Moodle, etc. It includes collaboration with Infosys because of the technical complexity of developing such a project. On each project, they have developed metadata that is recorded in the system, but they created a flat hierarchy that allows anyone to update information with version control in case that people changed information that the project manager wants to change. They also have an OSDDCHem – and open chemistry initiative and that because of the complexity of following compounds as they go through the process. The system also helped in recording the structures and the molecules and different diagrams and putting diagrams in the style of chemistry communication. They have seen self-organisation of groups of students and also been able to analyse 45,000 publications. So far, they integrated 84 PIs with 88 projects and identified 11 compounds that can lead to drugs.

Marc Santolini & Thomas Landrain: Just One Giant Lab – learning and solving together. JOGL is about opening up the process of involvement in research and designing projects to people outside academia. It also links itself to the SDGs. The background to it is the experience of an open laboratory in Paris by Thomas (La Paillasse), but to get out of the physical space and collaboration. The next stage was to create collaboration online in epidemiological research (with support from Roche). An open science platform can bring people on a level playing way – from specialists, data scientists, patients etc. There are many problems that are not suitable for business problem-solving. Many don’t have such an opportunity. We need to consider the agile space of communities that don’t sustain their involvement but need to document and pass their experience forward. The challenge is that we have – about 10m active contributors to science, but 1 billion people with higher education. We need researchers without being within the formal research system. The existing collaborative research systems (Academia.edu researchgate…) are locking data and output and work by exploiting the vanity of contributors, not on collaboration. The idea of Jogl is that research/entrepreneurs/civil servants/activists might have their own problems that they need to solve, and on the other hand, there are students, patients, citizens that can contribute and build experience through participation in real projects.

Marc – there is a growth in science: increase collaboration and publication. No one can be in control of an area, so need to have designed serendipity (from Michael Nielsen). They look at team success, science innovation, open-source community, and collaborative learning. iGEM is a synthbio competition of over 300 teams, everything is on a wiki lab book network. The analysis looked at features that can help in understanding the competition, for example, team size, experience, mentorship but also with a network analysis. There is a collaboration core that can predict success.

Bastian Greshake Tzovaras: OpenHumans – sharing very personal data to use for research in a way that protects our privacy. The idea is that there is one system that stores the data safely and securely: GPS location, DNA data, Google Search History and Tweets. The first thing that it allows is analysing the data with notebooks of research that is coming out of it (predict eye colour on 23and Me data – it can allow you to try and run shared open notebook on your data without sharing it. The notebooks just share analysis and not the data. There are also projects that are using the data. An example is Dana Lewis insulin pumps that are using information about continuous glucose monitoring (nightscout) with patients controlling their data. Another example is nobism which is working on cluster headaches – they share data with code academy that know how to analyse the data. some of the reports by the students are shared and patient-led experiments. There are big issues of governance and trust. The OpenHumans foundation is a not-for-profit. Community is participating in the approval of a project which is proposed on the system. The community discussed it for a long time. The community is also asked to participate in the nomination of the board by anyone in the community. There is some mechanism to deal with the community seats

Valerie Lerouyer: BioLab, a future collaborative and experimental space at the Cite de Sciences et Industrie. Biolab should allow linking people to biology and the environment. Aiming for partnership with INRA towards research on soil and fermentation. The aim is to help with understanding the ecological transition. Aim for a different audience – children, adults. They want people to discover the microscopic world, and conduct collaborative about ecological transition and set participatory projects. The aim is to create a dynamic process and that is an issue with communication – the central aspects of the plan is as an entry to the right to dialogue, to share the results, to research, to find out out about things – create. They are going to explore living organisms in the part and the canal in different ecosystems. and ask the public to sample from their gardens and their areas. Focus on microbiology and biotechnologies and developing partnerships with secondary schools. Thinking about DIY – e.g. fermentation which is impossible to do in a lab (e.g. Kefir) to collect observations from different places.  The exhibit will open in April.

Anirudh Krishnakumar: Dynamic Digital Drivers for Open Collaborative Science – MindLogger is a data collection platform that is aimed to build apps for citizen science without any programming. Allowing different data collection: a survey that allows people to create different response option, collecting different types of information (audio, video) and sensors features. It provides different elements – markdown text, slider, date, time range, table counter. Allowing people to give information in different ways – e.g. a set of fields that allow data entry. There is an option of active geolocation but actively elected by participants. They want to provide support with a wider library of citizen science projects – so if someone created a survey, someone else can pick it up. There is a thought about integrating MindLonger with ETH Zurich/ Citizen Cyberlab SDG toolkit. They would like to see different use cases and experimentation with the tool.

Joel Chevrier: Look at your hand when you write. Recently started research neuromotor in handwriting in children. Joel is using sensors – the interest in how you can measure movement with accelerometers and some examples of assessing movement and understanding movements. You can teach the system on different gestures, and the system is learning the link between colour and letter. The system is linked to Centre Pompidou. The fact that we can work with devices can also help in providing more accuracy to the assessment of the way people are moving (e.g. for patients with motoric issues). Research questions include the degree in which we can use movement and monitoring of grasping actions that allow us to understand the handwriting of children.

Some general insights: use of open source library is valuable, and there is a need to pay special attention to software packages that are used outside your discipline, but then also consider where the knowledge on how to use it will come from. There is a clear need for a community manager and someone who will continue to encourage activities with the system. OpenHumans is a good example that is based on minimal development. Use of APIs is a good way to interact and not on integration and complex connections.

The workshop was supported by my short term fellowship at the CRI in Paris.

 

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 http://ggim.un.org/UNGGIM-wg6. 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.

 

How many citizen scientists in the world?

Since the development of the proposal for the Doing It Together Science project (DITOs), I have been using the “DITOs escalator” model to express the different levels of engagement in science, while also demonstrating that the higher level have fewer participants, which mean that there is a potential for people to move between levels of engagement – sometime towards deeper engagement, and sometime towards lighter one according to life stages, family commitments, etc. This is what the escalator, after several revisions, look like:

DitosEscalator7

I have an ongoing interest in participation inequality (the observation that very few participants are doing most of the work) and the way it plays out and influences citizen science projects. When you start attaching numbers to the different levels of public engagement in science, participation inequality is appearing in this area, too. Since writing the proposal in 2015, I have been looking for indications that will support the estimation of the number of participants. During the process of working on a paper that uses the escalator, I’ve done the research to identify sources of information to support these estimations. While the paper is starting its peer review journey, I am putting out the part that relates to these numbers so this part can get open peer review here. I have decided to use 2017 as a recent year for which we can carry out the analysis. As for geographical scale, I’m using the United Kingdom as a country with very active citizen science community as my starting point.

At the bottom of the escalator, Level 1 considers the whole population, about 65 million people. Because of the impact of science across society, the vast majority, if not all, will have some exposure to science – even if this is only in the form of medical encounters.

However, the bare minimum of engagement is to passively consume information about science through newspapers, websites, and TV and Radio programme (Level 2). We can gauge the number of people at this level from the BBC programmes Blue Planet II and Planet Earth II, both focusing on natural history, with viewing figures of 14 million and about 10 million, respectively. We can, therefore, estimate these “passive consumers” at about 25% of the population.

At the next level is active consumption of science – such as visits to London’s Science Museum (UK visitors in 2017 – about 1.3), or the Natural History Museum (UK visitors in 2017 – about 2.1m), so an estimation of participation at 10% of the population seem justified.

Next, we can look at active engagement in citizen science but to a limited degree. Here, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) annual Big Garden Birdwatch requires the participants to dedicate a single hour in the year. The project attracted about 500,000 participants in 2017, and we can, therefore, estimate participation at this level at about 1% of the population. This should also include about 170,000 people who carried out a single task on Zooniverse and other online projects.

At the fifth level, there are projects that require remote engagement, such as volunteer thinking on the Zooniverse platform, or in volunteer computing on the IBM World Community Grid (WCG), in which participants download a software on their computer to allow processing to assist scientific research. The number of participants in WCG from the UK in 2017 was about 18,000. In Zooniverse about 74,0000 people carried out more than a single task in 2017, thus estimating participation at this level at 0.1% of the population (thanks to Grant Miller, Zooniverse and Caitlin Larkin, IBM for these details).

The sixth level requires the regular data collection, such as the participation in the British Trust of Ornithology Garden Birdwatch got about 6,500 active participants in 2017 (BTO 2018), while about 5000 contributed to the biodiversity recording system iRecord (thanks to Tom August, CEH) and it will be reasonable to estimate that the participation is about 0.01% of the population.

The most engaged level include those who are engaged in DIY Science, such as exploring DIY Bio, or developing their own sensors, etc. We can estimate that it represents 0.001% of the UK population at most (thanks to Philippe Boeing & Ilia Levantis).

We can see that as the level of engagement increases, the demand from participants increase and the number of participants drops. Not that this is earth-shattering, though what is interesting is that the difference between levels is in order of magnitude. We also know that the UK enjoys all the possible benefits that are needed to foster citizen science: a long history of citizen science activities, established NGOs and academic institutions that support citizen science, good technological infrastructure (broadband, mobile phone use), well-educated population (39.1% with tertiary education), etc. So we’re talking about a best-case scenario.

It is also important, already at this point, to note that UNESCO’s estimates of the percentage of UK population who are active scientists (working in research jobs), is 0.4% which is bigger than the 0.111 for levels 5,6 and 7.  

Let’s try to extrapolate from the UK to the world.

First, how many people we can estimate to have the potential of being citizen scientists? We want them to be connected and educated, with a middle-class lifestyle that gives them leisure time for hobbies and volunteering.

The connectivity gives us a large number – according to ITU, 3.5 Billion people are using the Internet. The estimation of the size of middle-class is a bit smaller, at 3.2 Billion people.  However, we know that participants in most citizen science projects which use passive inclusiveness, where everyone is welcome without an active effort in outreach to under-represented groups, tend to be from people with higher education (a.k.a tertiary education). There is actually data about it – here is the information from Wikipedia about tertiary educational attainment. According to UNESCO’s statistics, there were over 672 million people with a form of tertiary education in 2017. Let’s say that not everyone in citizen science is with tertiary education (which is true) so our potential starting number is 1 Billion.

I’ll assume the same proportion of the UK, ignoring that it present for us the best case. So about 250 million of these are passive consumers of science (L2), and 100 million are active consumer (e.g. going to science museums) (L3). We can then have 10 million people that participate in the once a year events (L4); 1 million that are active in online citizen science (this is more than a one-off visit or trial) (L5); about 100,000 who are the committed participants (mostly nature observers) and about 10,000 DIY bio, makers, and DIY science people (L6 and L7).

Are these numbers make sense? Looking at the visits to science/natural history museums on Wikipedia, level 3 seems about right. Level 4 looks very optimistic – in addition to Big Garden Birdwatch, there were about 17,000 people participating in City Nature Challenge, and 73,000 participants in the Christmas Bird Count, and about 888,000 done a single task on Zooniverse – it looks like that a more realistic number is 3 million or 4 million. Level 5 is an underestimate – IBM Word Community Grid have 753,000 members, and there are other volunteer computing projects which will make it about 1 million, then there were about 163,000 global Zooniverse contributors (thanks to the information from Grant Miller), 130,000 Wikipedians, 50,000 active contributors in OpenStreetMap, and other online projects such as EyeWire etc. So let’s say that it’s about 1.5 Million. At level 6, again the number is about right – e.g. eBird reports 20,000 birders in their peak day. For the sake of the argument, let’s say that it’s double the number – 200,000. Level 7 also seems right, based on estimations of biohackers numbers in Europe.

Now let’s look at the number of scientists globally: in 2013 there were 7.3 million researchers worldwide. With the estimation of “serious” citizen scientists (levels 5,6 and 7) at about 1.7 million, we can see the issue of crowdsourcing here: the potential crowdsourcer community is, at the moment, much bigger than the volunteers.

Something that is important to highlight here is the amazing productivity of citizen scientists in terms of their ability to analyse, collect information, or inventing tools – we know from participation inequality that this tiny group of participants are doing a huge amount of work – the 50,000 OSM volunteers are mapping the world or the 73,000 Christmas Bird Count participants provided 56,000,000 observations or the attention impact of the Open Insulin Project. So numbers are not the only thing that we need to think about.

Moreover, this is not a reason to give up on increasing the number of citizen scientists. Look at the numbers of Google Local Guides – out of 1 Billion users, a passive crowdsourcing approach reached 50 million single time contributors, and 465,000 in the equivalent of levels 5 to 7. Therefore, citizen science has the potential of reaching much larger numbers. At the minimum, there is the large cohort of people with tertiary education, with at least 98 million people with Masters and PhD in the world.

Therefore, to enable a wider and deeper public engagement with science, apart from the obvious point of providing funding, institutional support, and frameworks to scale up citizen science, we can think of an “escalator” like process, which makes people aware of the various levels and assists them in moving up or down the engagement level. For example, due to a change in care responsibilities or life stages, people can become less active for a period of time and then chose to become more active later. With appropriate funding, support, and attention, growing the global citizen science should be possible. 

European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) 2018 Conference – day 2: Beyond the deficit model, inclusiveness, libraries, and

The second and last day of the conference (day 1 is covered here) started early, with a keynote: “Science society continuum: From ‘deficit model’ to social demand on research – the reform of science in progress” Lionel LarquĂ©, FR – [physicist and head the collaboration of education, civil society organisations, and science. Influenced partnerships between science and society on non-deficit model of science.] The organisation ALLISS was set in 2012 – to address Science & Society Continuum. There is a book on “sciences participatives” and it is in French and aimed at the local community. Speak from the French perspective, the founders of the institution that he runs – 1800 members (institutions) and 15-20 years of cooperation. Science-society concepts: seeing it as good answers for the wrong questions, at the background of the public policy – what we can and can’t do. Science/society came from institutions – a structural bias, it came from scientific and European institutions – the reason to start it. It starts with wrong and incomplete data, ideas from the 1970s and 1980s about mistrust of citizens in science. What is the reality of current public view on science is unknown, we don’t know if the questions were well written. The policy was based on scientific prejudice, and assumptions about public mistrust in science – but generally, from 1972 to today, in France 78%-85% people have trust in the knowledge from science (without linking to technology or how science run). There is no strong data that will show the strong mistrust and mix criticism with mistrust. The French science academy is full of non-rational scientists who feed the discourse of public mistrust. A lot of bad reasons for creating agnotological public debate – some scientists want to instrumentalise the public debate. by saying that there is a mistrust, then you can rely on deficit model and ignore the public and that is useful. It also seems obvious to claim that it is obvious, as all institutions face mistrust – politics, media, law and order, and therefore assume that science is also getting it. The pressure on scientists is getting higher and the scientific community is suffering from the pressure – political power, social actors, finance. Scientific institutions are the last trusted institutions and ask to answer all the questions, and the scientists feel pressured by these demands and they see that as a problem that they want people to leave them to their own actions. There is a vicious cycle of address the deficit model because. ALLISS put forward the idea that we need to ask the new question. We need to face institutional walls – they don’t want to accept that society at large is way more educated and therefore scientific institutions need to change. ALLISS tries to figure out the institutional challenge.

The French situation: high level of trust from the public towards science, but criticism towards the institutions. There is a large scale cooperation between civil society organisations and scientific organisations (CNRS, INRS…). The number is very high, but the institutions are not looking at it in their strategic plans – cooperation developed despite institutional policies. In 2001-2009, the World Social Forum, from 8500 workshops, only 70 talked about science and technology. For a lot of social actors, science is outside the frame and in 2007 launched the “science and democracy world forum” – can we share a common view about it? The workshops show that dialogue was not the issue, but what can we change the context – what can you do to change partnerships. Need to change something: policy, concept, etc. . A mass of initiatives won’t be enough to change policy. The barrier of science institutions is a big barrier and it hasn’t changed from the 1970s to today. The main tradition of science is a problem for citizen science – it is put in a box and put into a specific space so it won’t change the bigger institutions. Citizen science dynamics is one that allows us to change things: we need to understand where we came from – design of research and science policies – the key design was for making Europe stronger, rebuilt, and link science and industry. Now there are local actors, local groups, and the science-policy doesn’t have tools that allow that – a non-industrial research policy focused on society is needed. Scientific institutions we have a wider policy alliance. Are the people that work in museums, institutions. Things won’t change the way we want them – they don’t have a sequential process, e.g. feminism impact in scientific study and what helped: bicycle, war, and image in the mass media in the 1960s of women in the media. Changes are not rational, but even when the forces are strong we need both the cumulative experience and the politics. Open science initiative might help us, maybe close to the SDG initiatives and we can explore them through research. We observe that the sociology of citizen science is that a lot of citizen science is coming from institutions that propagate the deficit model and we need to play both with these institutions and the cost are very high. We need to be clear that we need a change, we understand what we can change and what can’t be changed. The Shock Doctrine is something that we need to be aware of it – think outside ourselves. ALLISS and ECSA need to be ready.

Workshop “Empowerment, inclusiveness & equity in community-based research and CS”

Claudia Göbel, Michael Jorganson , ECSA (DE). Notes on https://etherpad.wikimedia.org/p/ECSA2018-EIE and there are issues at Michael: CBR – civil society have issues that need to be addressed by authorities but this need to be documented, There is also need for the development of new knowledge or new proposals (e.g. urban agriculture). Empowerment – knowledge might empower – but not enough, there is also translations and alliances to make it effective. There are sometimes need to figure out new methods in the institution and in society. Working deliberately with empowerment. Claudia – looked at the Soleri 2016: empowerment – capacity to make a change. The terminology can be about equity and inclusiveness. It’s about who is participating, and it builds on conversations that evolve from the CSA conference but also ECSA conference in 2016, workshops in Living Knowledge conference, policy roundtables. From the living knowledge conference, there are different ideas about research, especially different epistemologies of science “distant vs engaged research. The idea of a working ground on empowerment and some activities that a group can do.

 

Barbara Kieselnger – ideas of citizen social science – building on participatory action research, data activism, action research – but we now combine it with other sources. Done a classification of citizen science projects. Different projects that engage citizens, for example, a project in Barcelona and using an existing of environmental activists and political and street actions. Want to understand ozone pollution. The Careables – it’s a project which involves people with physical limitation and maker communication, sharing the co-design openly.

Balint Balazs – pointing about the silence of citizen science in central Europe (same issues at the UCL workshop on Geographical Cit Sci). Making invisible project visibility. Thinking of citizen social science. Aspects of empowerment: autonomy, competence, belonging, impact, meaning, resilience – need to think how they work.

Thomas HervĂ© Mboa Nkoudou– question the notion of inclusiveness: e.g. a transgender friend that ask about having us as a bigger group to colour a project. Adding a symbolic inclusiveness. In order to put in evidence the power of community – a summit in Ghana on the AfricaOSH – a big conversation about making/ hacking/bio-hacking and to bring together as a community what is the open science mean to us.

Muki Haklay – I’ve focused on passive and assertive inclusiveness, the need for a more nuanced view of participation as we have societal benefits from highly educated people, and the problem of methodological individualism in the analysis of empowerment and inclusion. Call for also a realistic understanding of resources – the more inclusive you are, the more expensive the process of including them is – e.g. the need to morally justify the intelligent maps effort, where each engagement in very expensive.

Libby Hepburn covered the issue of the global initiative of citizen science, which is providing an opportunity for different organisations and programmes to collaborate and the potential of leveraging the SDG to address societal challenges, demonstrate the needs for citizen science applications and use.

The session’s discussion turned to different aspects of inclusiveness and the creation of an ECSA working group.

Speed Talks “Citizen Engagement”

Nina James, University of South Australia (AUS): Strangers, Stewards and Newcomers in CS identities of those that participate – looked at 9 contributory project, 900 participants, and 1400 non-participants. It is very diverse fields – motivated by different things, she found in conservation 49-69 female mostly (70%). Different from non-participants. highly educated, sense of connection to the environment. First identity is environmental stewards – connected to nature, strong awareness, also actively politically engage, and participate in more than one projects. Science enthusiasts – participate in other cit sci, interested in science, interested in technology and confident about it, and less politically active. Also included in a project that there are introverts and extroverts (a project in a museum and also online). The men are topic oriented, motivated in science and technology, and in the outback in the fireballs in the sky that includes 77% men. There are newcomers – motivated by the topic. Millenials are in small percentage. The strangers are haven’t participated in citizen science – less politically engaged, lower education, too many conflicting interests. People are participating in different projects. The participation of female (70%) is an issue – result of an online survey.

Cat Stylinski, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (US): Embedded Assessment of Skills in CS. Embedded assessment in citizen science – provides an introduction. Volunteers need to develop skills in citizen science to participate, and this is important to upheld scientific standards. Need to identify the skills, train support, then assess the skills and then a need to think how this work. Assessment includes formal tests, informal observations, and data validation. Embedded assessment is done as people involved in the project – so giving an activity and then developing a rubric to compare what people did. Embedded assessment try to streamline the process – data validation is usually focusing on science variable, and instead of looking at the volunteers and how they learn the approach. Figuring out a new way to integrate the assessment with project’s process.

Kate Lewthwaite, Woodland Trust (UK): Engaging older citizen scientists in the digital era. A painful case study of moving people to a new website – working on woods and working with many volunteers in Nature Calendar – many recorders are over 60 and even 80. Important contributors to phenology. They wanted to move the website to a new system because of the technological change – but some people used the website for 10 years. Consulted with the scientific users of the data on improvements – better location information, ask the number of visits, and improving data about participants. Used persona for the design process. Overall the participants struggle much more than expected. Registration through verification links in email and needed to assist in copy and paste, and need to use an alphanumeric password. They haven’t read the website and couldn’t understand why there was a need to add a security information. The manipulation of mapping (survey123 style of moving the map) was confusing. Don’t do change – there was once a decade to do a change and plan support, expect more staff resources to make it happen, and they needed the support. They talked with 20 interviews and the development team explore the issue with infrequent users, That why they thought that everything is ready. Continue to run a paper-based system. They’ve lost some of the people in the transition, and don’t have the ability to provide an app, yet – it’s planned.

Karsten Elmose Vad, The Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen (DK): What motivates families to do CS? evaluation of the Ant Hunt (mentioned in the previous post) – an experiment of food preferences of ants. Take several hours, capturing ant, and sending them. They focused on families with children 6-13, Denmark doesn’t have an after-school science. Put the researcher on video and she wrote back to participants. got 356 experiments, 260 users, 24 species and 6000 ants. The evaluation shows that for more people having scientists connected to the project it was the majority, and it was valuable for them to get a response from a scientist which coordinated the project – felts that it provide participation in something big and the opportunity to work with a scientist. Valuable cross-generation activity, open-ended experiment, the scientific method. They didn’t care about the competition.

Gaia Agnello, ECSA (DE): Motivations and perceived benefits predict citizen
scientistsÂŽ level of engagement. Used the volunteer function index (clary & snider 1998) the analytical framework for voluntarism. Looking how these factors influence the programme – looking through an online questionnaire. 174 responses – more motivated to nature issues. It is important to understand motivation in relation to engagement. The initial motivation is not driving the level of engagement.

Talks  – “Social Innovation”

Tiberius Ignat et al., Scientific Knowledge Services (DE): Working Together: CS and Research Libraries – presented with Paul Ayres of UCL libraries. The request to talk at the conference is about the role of libraries in support activities especially research library – these are areas of research libraries that are important. They have supported organisation, highly standardised, well connected in a network and work well. They build collections or resources, data and material. The manage the incoming and outgoing of scientific communication with researchers and world leaders of open science and advocates of it – pushing open access and are experienced advocates. They are also open to innovation and work through transformation for all their roles. Fun people, centrally located, and also have a culture of being politeness towards answers. They have 10 major skills: collaboration between libraries, they have communication skills, have a FAIR concept that is integrated into their practices, good in infrastructure and governing it. They have experience in maintaining and curating collections. They have experience in open access, connecting people. They have demonstrated advocacy as a network – open access and fees campaign for example. The confluences are areas of opportunities – skills development, support, collection, FAIR data, infrastructure, evaluation, communication – general skills but also in the recruitment of volunteers, marketing and in advocacy. In 2017 there was a set of presentation on the “Roles for libraries in the Open Science landscape” and done 12 presentations and in 2918 presenting on 2018 “Focus on Open Science”. There is a demand for citizen science in these events. Looking at the OSPP of the EU, citizen science is one of the 8 pillars of open science. There is a consistent line of supporting open science in 2016 in Amsterdam, then in the OSPP which just produced a recommendations on citizen science, and LERU advice paper on open science in May 2018. Library engagement in citizen science – an example from UCL East – UCL library thinking about a local oral history in the borough of Newham. The other example is the Transcribe Bentham is the crowdsourcing with 624 and it is very cost effective – an example of contribution through the special collection . Another example is the establishment of university press that is dedicated to Open Access . The answers – why do citizens collaborate? What is the motivation to volunteers? and so on. Libraries have a very important role and there is an open survey at knowledge.services/citizenscience

Susanne Hecker et al., Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
UFZ/German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-JenaLeipzig (DE): Innovation in and with CS. The journey about the ECSA 2016 and the development of the new open access book from the conferences –  bringing the experiences of the conference, bringing 120 researchers and what we can expect from the book – 29 chapters in 5 sections. Part 1 is about innovation in citizen science – setting the scene: it will include the description of the Ten Principles of citizen science, standards for citizen science, then the contribution on scientific impact, my chapter on participation in citizen science, then technology and infrastructure and evaluation. Part II, focus on questions on society – understanding the social theory, empowerment and scientific library, inclusiveness, support (technically and socially) and the integration with the higher education system. We have 40 case studies in the book, but in particular in China, Europe, Global mosquito alert, and water quality. The third part, focus on the science-policy interface, including policy formulation with an input from people at the EC and from Environmental Protection Agencies, also Responsible Research and Innovation. The next section is the innovation in technology and environmental monitoring (part IV) and it looks at technologies, light pollution, data protocol, and national monitoring programmes. The last part – section V – looking at science communication and education – making it education, addressing science capital through citizen science, children, school education, and stories that change the world. Key recommendation complete the book. The discussion included questions about the production of the book at open access and the need to promote it to policymakers and to wider audiences

Closing session

Claudia Appenzeller-Winterberger-  – citizen science is engagement of scientists and of the citizens, and you need to think why are we doing it? Is we summarise the dialogue, it is about the question of scientists and let the public ask questions. Thinking global and acting local. We will have to think about these new questions: a lot of it is testing and doing citizen science.

Lessons learned from Volunteers Interactions with Geographic Citizen Science – Morning session

On the 27th April, UCL hosted a workshop on the “Lessons learned from Volunteers Interactions with Geographic Citizen Science“. The workshop description was as follows:

“A decade ago, in 2007, Michael Goodchild defined volunteered geographic information (VGI) as ‘the widespread engagement of large numbers of private citizens, often with little in the way of formal qualifications, in the creation of geo­graphic information, a function that for centuries has been reserved to official agencies.’ (p.2). The collection and use of this type of crowdsourced geographic data have grown rapidly with amateurs mapping the earth’s surface for all kind of purposes (e.g. collecting and disseminating information about accessibility in urban centres, for crisis and emergency response purposes, mapping illegal logging in remote areas and so on). A subset of these activities has been described as ‘geographic citizen science’ and includes scientific activities in which amateur scientists (volunteers) participate in geographic data collection, analysis and dissemination within the context of a scientific project (Haklay, 2013) or simply by using scientific methods and equipment. Although, there is an extensive discussion in the VGI and geographic citizen science literature about opportunities as well as implications (e.g. data coverage, data quality and trust issues, motivation and retainment of volunteers and so on), examples from the actual interaction are not so widely discussed, neither has evidence been collected from a broad spectrum of case studies to demonstrate how volunteers interact with those technologies and applications, what they are looking for and what it is that they need/try to accomplish (at a scientific, project and personal level) and what are the common design mistakes that influence interaction.” The following is a summary of the talk and presentations:

Welcome & Instructions – Artemis Skarlatidou the workshop is linked to our ERC funded project Intelligent Maps (ECSAnVis) and  EU funded Doing It Together science (DITOs) and the COST action – our work deal with geographical applications of citizen science and data collection. There is the COST Action CA15212 which got 243 members in 39 countries – all exploring aspects of citizen science – Work Group 1 (WG1) for scientific quality, WG2 education, WG3 society-science policy, WG4 the role of volunteers in citizen science, WG5 data and interoperability, and the synergies in WG6. In WG4, which Artemis lead. we’re looking at stakeholder mapping, motivation, needs and interaction issues, and mapping citizen science across Europe. Another relevant group is the ICA Commission on use user and usability issues, the International Society for Photogrammetry & remote sensing that have a WG V/3 that look at citizen science and crowdsourced information. Sultan Kocaman explained the ISPRS link – WG V/3 focus on the promotion of regional collaboration in citizen science and geospatial technologies within the focus of ISPRS area of education and outreach.

Louis Liebenberg presents Smartphone Icon User Interface design for Oralate Trackers – Louis Liebenberg who for 3 decades have been developing software to allow hunter gatherer to protect their knowledge of tracking. One of the challenges that Louis address is the understanding how our scientific thinking evolved. Louis suggests that tracking is an example for hypothesis testing and rational thinking that evolved in in tracking by hunter gatherers. He worked with !Nate from the San people since 1985 – the context of technology use by San for a long time. Already 100 years ago, hunters discovered that arrow points can be made from fence wire and started using them. This is an example of how hunter-gatherers adopt to technologies around them. Hunter-gatherers are not isolated: they always interacted and traded. Developing a software for a smartphone (you can get an Android phone for $10 in South Africa today), is similar to adopting the fence wire for the arrows 100 years ago. He learned from master trackers – the level of sophistication of trackers is astonished him since the mid 1980s. In the Kalahari, dogs were introduced in the 60s, and therefore the knowledge of tracking and the practices of hunting change. He used tracking and certification in it in order to secure employment. Master trackers are expected in an egalitarian society to show humility, so it is possible to miss them if you go and ask “who’s the best tracker here?” – the certification is a way to provide recognition and work. The tracking provided employment in the 1990s in surveying the movement of animals in the Kalahari. The persistent hunt – when you do it without any equipment, running animals down until they die from exhaustion which is an adaptation that humans have to be able to do that. Karoha was one of the persistence hunters but also able to use CyberTracker and use the system. Parallel to the software, Louis develop the tracker certification, to know if the data is reliable. As Master Trackers die, the knowledge is lost, so the certification provides an opportunity to encourage the younger generation to develop the knowledge and benefit from it. The level of details in animal tracks is very high. There is a high level of ambiguity in tracking and requirement to learn about claw marks and knowing what are the possibilities then it is possible with high certainty to understand which animal it was. Trackers also develop hypotheses on why the shape of hoofs is the way it is, and interpret activities of animals from the track – for example, identifying new ways of interpreting the behaviour of an animal that was not observer before. For example, the ability to guess that caracals are jumping upright in an attempt to catch a bird. CyberTracker started with the early Apple Newton with a GPS module, and then evolved into the Palm Pilot and continue to evolve. The interface was very limited in drawing icons – icons are either phonetic symbols (e.g. using a wheelbarrow to describe an item that sounds similar to the word in Africans). The details can be very extensive – species, age, number, male/female and so home. The data can provide information on abundance and potential of work are the communities. In a project in the Congo, they follow the trackers of different animals and they could show they Ebola impact Chimpanzees, Gorilla, but also other animals and then this was important to understand that you can identify Ebola in wildlife before it spreads into the human population. There is also a wide use of CyberTracker in citizen science on monitoring endangered species, and different projects by indigenous communities  Australia. They can also show that there are different results from what ecologists identify. A paper from 1999 about Rhino was co-authored by a tracker, demonstrating different models of publishing with citizen scientists. The first high impact that was co-authored by trackers was published recently in biological conservation. Questions: how to communicate from hypothesis by hunter-gatherers to the scientific sphere? The need is collaboration: data collected and organised by the trackers, and then the scientists write the report, but providing a report is challenging. The reality is co-authoring as there is always need for mentoring, reciprocal approach between scientists. Louis also circulates papers with experienced scientists to improve the paper. We all need peer review support. In terms of consent and engagement: there is a need to develop the relationship of trust and understanding – the first people who were involved in CyberTracker worked with Louis for 5 years, and Louis engaged as a tracker before they were willing to work with him. Some of the early papers in the Kalahari used trackers without mentioning their name even though the trackers carried out the research. Scientific institutions are one of the last authoritarians institutions – citizen science. Scientific elitism is intransigent and this makes citizen science exciting.

Lessons from supporting non-literate forest communities in the Congo-Basin to record their Traditional Ecological Knowledge – Michalis Vitos & Julia Altenbuchner the context of the Congo-basin is the second largest rainforest. This is a forest with 29 million people, with at least 500,000 nomadic communities that rely on resources. The forest is divided into concessions and then they are sued for resource extraction – how to make local groups heard? Local communities are excluded from protected areas. In the last few years, some legislation is changing – e.g. the FLEGT of the EU to control timber import and request for social payback and responsibility. ExCiteS collaborated with communities to support such process with technology. The challenges are dealing with non-literate groups who are also non-technologically literate. We use pictures as a way to communicate: the application working in a simple fashion – showing categories of things that people want to map, each category is leading to more specific options – the information can be captured and deciding if we want to save information and we can collect video and audio that are geotagged. In 3 simple steps, information can be captured. The process starts with a dialogue of what important for the communities, and then with this agreement on what will be collected. We do explore the usability of the application. About 70% can use the application, but 30% have a problem with categories – you follow a path of mapping banana, avocado and cacao – this requires categories, e.g. one of the set. Some participants found that confusing. Adding more icon to the category is becoming more complex. One approach was to test audio feedback in a local language – explaining the icons and what they mean. The experiments with the audio feedback help a bit, but not a lot. The next step was to go directly to the final icons and go directly to the final card – adding an NFC chip and adding the control to it. Participant finds the specific icon and then touch the card with the phone. With Tap&Map the success rate gets close to 100%.

Julia – the next issue is making sure that communities can manage their data- the vision is of intelligent maps  – having data collection, then local data repository and management, and then visualisation. But there is a challenge of the mapping and this was done by using UAVs and creating within a short time a high-resolution imagery. However, people don’t need maps as they know their area, but the maps are for communication. The maps are being used to check how the map is used – people felt under a lot of pressure when using the map. and the next experiment was not to put under pressure, and instead of doing a treasure hunt: going and looking for data by trying to find German Christmas decorations. The tracks of the people who participated in the study we can see how they looked for information. What we know is that people can use maps and understand them – the reference map. Now we want the thematic information – so when people take ownership and correct issues: this was done using the icons that were used as a resource and then to correct information. People were doing well in correcting information using a Tap&Map approach. We get feature corrections over 90%. This an ad-hoc approach: even without much exposure – we need to allow people to be sensors and the brains behind it.

Forest hunter-gatherers and Extreme Citizen Science: Reporting wildlife crime in collaboration with local and indigenous communities in Cameroon through community-led co-design – Simon Hoyte work in Cameroon for the last year and a half with Baka hunter-gatherers. Working in Cameroon in the south-east corner.Working with Dja reserve, working ZSL and 5 communities. In Cameroon, there are many issues with conservation – gorillas, chimpanzees, parrots, pangolins and elephants. Indigenous communities are lots of time are forgotten – those groups are familiar with the forest, with knowledge of 50,000 years and colonial approaches exclude. The technologies that are being used are Sapelli data collection tool, then there is the data management tool GeoKey and the CommunityMaps from Mapping for Change. The process starts with the community free prior informed consent – first starting with the concerns of the community and also building trust by staying overnight in the village and connect on a personal level. That is an important recommendation. Icons are being drawn from the sand, to a paper and then into the app. Functional actions changed from tick to thumbs app, or recording changed. XML layout of the project allow changes in the field. The second recommendation is the co-design that increases motivation. Audio and video are allowing information to be shared, including tracks – it allows a verification. Audio provides more information. Describing what people found. Indicators on the device are important – when recording is active a red icon allows you to see that something is working. The phone is checking for connection every 4 minutes. Using ID screen to recognise reported – can be used elsewhere. The community protocol also addresses who manage who will manage the phone and look after it. The report is upload and shared with the authorities – we need the diverse outcome. So in summary: trust building, co-design, media, feedback, simple tools, anonymous ID, community-led, and diverse outcomes. The map providing further more information.

Community based monitoring of tropical forests using information and communication technology (ICT) – SĂžren Brofeldt an example for a study that rely on Sapelli and expand the software to create the Prey Lang App: working in Cambodia, in the Prey Lang – 200,00 people who rely on the forest, and huge pressure of deforestation and a lot of the logging is illegal and it is supposed to be protected. The Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) created around 2005-2007 and it is now a group of 600 people who are doing work over that last 10 years, and patrolling the area, confiscating chainsaw and catch wood and logs. Trying to address logging in the area. 2013 they try to communicate the problem to international society – to do what they wanted to set a forest monitoring programme and create a system to document illegal logging and provide evidence-based advocacy. The issue is to compile information and document breaches. The data is captured by Sapelli, and the information is validated by PLCN and scientists, which then helped in compiling report locally and globally, which then led to the positive platform. The platform was tweaked a bit and include information through a decision tree, they have different aspects. The things that they developed: unique functions – choosing icons or doing activities – they had basic activities in the first version: they have seen it as too simple. They started with 9 basic functions with 614 end-points of activities. By the third version, they had 9 functions, and 1663 options: types of trees, types of information, species and so on. They now have 10 functions (e.g. dropdown, word complete). Complexity does not lead to incorrect use (if training is adequate and added functionality is done in co-designed way). When people are experienced – people who use the app for 2 years can get into more complex functionality over time. Some of the issues with data – poor documents, double counting. over time, human errors are decreasing, and also technical issues. Poor connectivity and technical issue are a major issue – more than local ability to use. High quality is possible with active data management is needed.

Designing Human-Computer Interaction for Citizen Science Initiatives in Rural Developing Regions – Veljko Pejovic & Artemis Skarlatidou we need to understand how we move initiative from developed to developing regions in citizen science application. ICT4D point to environmental constraints: roads, electricity, There are also that this area lack skills in the workforce and cultural constraints. Clashes with assumptions. in the Extreme Citizen Science context: we need to identify solution adaptation in participatory design, there is a need for holistic implementation, and we need to make sure that we think about the whole process – from data collection to policy and this challenging. Finally, we also to consider the champions and engaging then (the book “Geek Heresy” by Toyama talks about it). The aim is to identify guidelines – this was done through participatory studies that are similar in the rural developing world and carried out 9 interviews with researchers with extensive experience in the field. An hour-long interviews x 2. The questions explored different aspects including interactions. The finding – need to mobilise the community by taking into account societal organisation (e.g. egalitarian aspects). Need to find local champions. We need to identify the ecosystem of the technology: chargers, cables. Also need to consider how the technology that was built to a different context work: rough fingertips, reflection in the screens and so on. There is also the issue of using hierarchical icon organisation which is pretty intuitive for educated people but it is challenging for participants (users) and also navigation buttons. This matches evidence from Medhi et al. Chi 2013. Juxtaposing this with illiterate users in urban Brazil, they managed to deal with hierarchical organisation and navigation – might be that the exposure to smartphones helped in developing these hierarchies. Icon design is different, but we can see that realistic icons with context are more suitable to use, not just an object. There are issues of actions and how to represent them. Getting honest feedback on the spot is a challenge – users don’t criticise before (Dell et al CHI 2012 – “yours is better”). Long trust relationship help in getting honest feedback. The participants lack the vocabulary to discuss HCI issues. To maintain motivation, there is a need to make data collection visible and ensure the real-world impact of data collection. Recommendation: develop context-specific apps – not genetic, and consider application interface that matches user’s skills and geographical information is a key.

Introducing user issues of the Global Forest Watch application – Jamie Gibson – developing with Vizzuality better maps and visualisation. Trying to think of citizen-focused GIS, interacting with the citizen in the design. Global Forests Watch (GFW) was developed in the last 3 years, and it is allowing to see the world’s forest and how they change. They wanted to tell a simple story: where forest is gained and lost. With few clicks, you can see the impact of conservation. GFW allow seeing how deforestation is implemented and how it is stopped. There is a need for global engagement – opening it to a whole crowd of people. Forest don’t have a connection to the web, and try to take data online to the field, walk to the area, investigate recent forest loss and report new areas – 4000-5000 users. They aim to integrate citizens into the design process. Forest Watcher is being used in important areas of the world and not where the most connected people area. They analyse where people use the app – when there are forest fires in Spain, people are updating GFW and explore. Use the analytics to find the places where we want more people to look and explore. This is integrated with interviews and usability testing. Working with experts who been working for a long time – including Jane Goodall Institute, Amazon Conservation Team, CAGDF, and BirdLife. As people use the application they build ownership and they provide a better feedback and richer information. In terms of what they learn, including the use of persona to think about monitors: need to have lots of other things that try to sync after the 14 days offline – the internet is slow and changed the app and the back end to make it faster. Use it to understand frustrations and find ways to wow moment. Face, name and story improve the quality of the thinking and understand their frustrations.

Lessons learned from Missing Maps – Jorieke Vyncke Her personal background is in interest in work that links to humanitarian purposes, and since 2017 is the missing maps coordinator. She is looking at the humanitarian organisation focus -more than 34,000 staffers in MSF and about 470 locations around the world. In many parts of the world there are empty maps and not geographical data. They discover OpenStreetMap and working with the American and British Red Cross, HOT and over 40 partners. They have principles from the Ostrom on working with groups. They compare rural and urban parts. In Idjiwi in DRC, the east of Congo – working with a multitude of problems: violence, refugees and more. Due to a measles outbreak, they needed population and mapping data. Included 250 remote volunteers who mapped 28,000 building in about a week. This helped in creating population estimation – critical for the logistical planning. They managed to identify 94% of the population. An example from Bangladesh in Hazaribagh informal settlement. The area was mapped with both local and remote mapping – including factories and tanneries – locating the workers that they wanted to reach – combining students from the university with workers that were reached through the union. The experience of mapping is done by the technical local students to make things happen. Using smartphones and field papers process. Paper is still effective, and then also the edit data in pairs on how to do the mapping – the end result provided an occupational health survey. The process motivated the community and they continue to use it. In different areas, they use remote mapping but the most important thing is to create a local mapping community and that makes a decision between empowerment and remote mapping with the importance of saving life.

Keynote: Approximated Reality: the use of digital tools by traditional communities in the Amazon – Vasco van Roosmalen working in Ecam – Equipe Conservacao Amazonia in Brazil since 1999. The big challenge is how to reconcile different visions of what the world is. In the Xingu area in Brazil, there was a need to create an ethno-map of the region. The community discusses what they want to map and how they want to represent them, but it also needed to be cartographically accurate as this is how you communicate with external bodies. The whole map is created for the community: to use resources, to remember the dead and to defend their land (using patterns of body paint). We can see that protected areas in the Xingu. Another area that he was involved in mapping is near Surinam – in an area the size of Holland with 2000 people, the community recorded information about their region. This helped in justifying the resources and the protection of the area. An area that is very rough to access, and the local survey by the community managed to map the area done that in 6 maps. The community collected much more data than what the map can show – over the coming years, they mapped with different groups millions of hectares and they developed a process of creating the maps. The collaboration with Google Earth Outreach led to the interaction with Chief Amir of the Surui. The link with commitment with Rebecca Moore helped in filling up areas that are missing and attaching video and audio to the map. They then wanted to record illegal logging using mapping tools and this was done with OpenDataKit – the data collection challenges are accuracy, ease of use, speed, etc. In 2008 started to understand REDD and developed the Surui Carbon Project – need a tremendous amount of data from the air and from the ground. The use of information such as the circumference of trees was done with ODK. They use Garmin devices: they weren’t scratch resistance. Now they use a Samsung smartphones that are cheap and can be replaced easily. For the GPS in the rainforest, it is challenging and they use barcode on the trees. They used the ODK build but discovered that it is not an easy interface: using a programmer in the staff and that is a limitation in terms of allowing to build forms easily. The project managed to demonstrate that indigenous people can collect data but the REDD credits were more challenging and they got them in 2013. Cultural maps where created in other indigenous lands in Brazil. The importance not just to demarcate the land but to collect data and help them to manage the area. Today there are many challenges – 13% of the Brazilian territory. In the Brazilian Amazon, there are many communities – 25 mil people of which only 350,00 indigenous for example, Quilombola groups and many other groups. There was no information on other groups and some of them are disadvantaged – e.g. Quilombola required mapping 7000 communities, they are descendent of West African slaves – they were persecuted, faced a lot of violence, and when slavery was abolished they were forgotten, but from the 1980s they are recognised in the constitution, but not enough recognised officially. His team was involved in creating a new map of the 7000 communities for which only on a team of 40 is looking after in the government level in Brasilia. They used approaches that are similar to the Indigenous mapping in order to record information and manage the land. They had people who became experts in mapping and then demonstrating how to map the land using google earth and demonstrating data collection. The communities also collect socio-economic data – using ODK and understanding their community and developing a life plan for the area (plan for the next 10-30 years). The question is who is listening to the information but by whom. A social network analysis of Facebook (which is 83% of users in Brazil use) Looking at interactions show that local association are not linked to environment, human right and there is missing links to health, to a specific campaign on the Belo Monte Power Plant but it is not linked to the community. They care about health, education, income, and only fifth is the environment – need to talk about what matters to communities. How to make conversations about them in the centre of the discussion and move beyond putting them in the corner of the environment. We need to engage with people with their communities in a way that makes sense to them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GSF-NESTI Open Science & Scientific Excellence workshop – researcher, participants, and institutional aspects

The Global Science Forum – National Experts on Science and Technology Indicators (GSF-NESTI) Workshop on “Reconciling Scientific Excellence and Open Science” (for which you can see the full report here) asked the question “What do we want out of science and how can we incentivise and monitor these outputs?”. In particular, the objective of the workshop was “to explore what we want out of public investment in science in the new era of Open Science and what might be done from a policy perspective to incentivise the production of desired outputs.” with an aim to explore the overarching questions of:
1. What are the desirable (shorter-term) outputs and (longer-term) impacts that we expect from Open Science and what are potential downsides?
2. How can scientists and institutions be incentivised to produce these desirable outcomes and manage the downsides?
3. What are the implications for science monitoring and assessment mechanisms?

The session that I was asked to contribute to focused on Societal Engagement: “The third pillar of Open Science is societal engagement. Ensuring open access to scientific information and data, as considered in the previous sessions, is one way of enabling societal engagement in science. Greater access to the outputs of public research for firms is expected to promote innovation. However, engaging with civil society more broadly to co-design and co-produce research, which is seen as essential to addressing many societal challenges, will almost certainly require more pro-active approaches.
Incentivising and measuring science’s engagement with society is a complex area that ranges across the different stages of the scientific process, from co-design of science agendas and citizen science through to education and outreach. There are many different ways in which scientists and scientific institutions engage with different societal actors to informing decision-making and policy development at multiple scales. Assessing the impact of such engagement is difficult and is highly context and time-dependent“.

For this session, the key questions were

  • “What do we desire in terms of short and long-term outputs and impacts from societal engagement?
  • How can various aspect of scientific engagement be incentivised and monitored?
  • What are the necessary skills and competencies for ‘citizen scientists’ and how can they be developed and rewarded?
  • How does open science contribute to accountability and trust?
  • Can altmetrics help in assessing societal engagement?”

In my talk, I’ve decided to address the first three questions, by reflecting on my personal experience (so the story of a researcher trying to balance the “excellence” concepts and “societal engagement”), then consider the experience of the participants in citizen science projects, and finally the institutional perspective.


I’ve started my presentation [Slide 3] with my early experiences in public engagement with environmental information (and participants interest in creating environmental information) during my PhD research, 20 years ago. This was a piece of research that set me on the path of societal engagement, and open science – for example, the data that we were showing was not accessible to the general public at the time, and I was investigating how the processes that follow the Aarhus convention and use of digital mapping information in GIS can increase public engagement in decision making. This research received a small amount of funding from UCL, and later from ESRC, but not significantly.

I then secured an academic position in 2001, and it took to 2006 [Slide 4] to develop new systems – for example, this London Green Map was developed shortly after Google Maps API became available, and while this is one of the first participatory GIS applications on to of this novel API, this was inherently unfunded (and was done as an MSc project). Most of my funded work at this early stage of my career had no link to participatory mapping and citizen science. This was also true for the research into OpenStreetMap [Slide 5], which started around 2005, and apart from a small grant from the Royal Geographical Society, was not part of the main funding that I secured during the period.

The first significant funding specifically for my work came in 2007-8, about 6 years into my academic career [Slide 6]. Importantly, it came because the people who organised a bid for the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), realised that they are weak in the area of community engagement and the work that I was doing in participatory mapping fit into their plans. This became a pattern, where people approach with a “community engagement problem” – so there is here a signal that awareness to societal engagement started to grow, but in terms of the budget and place in the projects, it was at the edge of the planning process. By 2009, the investment led to the development of a community mapping system [Slide 7] and the creation of Mapping for Change, a social enterprise that is dedicated to this area.

Fast forward to today [Slide 8-10], and I’m involved in creating software for participatory mapping with non-literate participants, that support the concept of extreme citizen science. In terms of “scientific excellence”, this development, towards creating a mapping system that anyone, regardless of literacy can use [Slide 11] is funded as “challenging engineering” by EPSRC, and as “frontier research” by the ERC, showing that it is possible to completely integrated scientific excellence and societal engagement – answering the “reconciling” issue in the workshop. A prototype is being used with ZSL to monitor illegal poaching in Cameroon [Slide 12], demonstrating the potential impact of such a research.

It is important to demonstrate the challenges of developing societal impact by looking at the development of Mapping for Change [Slide 13]. Because it was one of the first knowledge-based social enterprises that UCL established, setting it up was not simple – despite sympathy from senior management, it didn’t easily fit within the spin-off mechanisms of the university, but by engaging in efforts to secure further funding – for example through a cross universities social enterprise initiatives – it was possible to support the cultural transformation at UCL.

There are also issues with the reporting of the impact of societal engagement [Slide 14] and Mapping for Change was reported with the REF 2014 impact case studies. From the universities perspective, using these cases is attractive, however, if you recall that this research is mostly done with limited funding and resources, the reporting is an additional burden which is not coming with appropriate resources. This lack of resources is demonstrated by Horizon 2020, which with all the declarations on the importance of citizen science and societal engagement, dedicated to Science with and for Society only 0.60% of the budget [Slide 15].

Participant experience

Alice Sheppard presenting her escallatorWe now move to look at the experience of participants in citizen science projects, pointing that we need to be careful about indicators and measurements.

We start by pointing to the wide range of activities that include public engagement in science [Slide 17-18] and the need to provide people with the ability to move into deeper or lighter engagement in different life stages and interests. We also see that as we get into more deep engagement, the number of people that participate drop (this is part of participation inequality).

For specific participants, we need to remember that citizen science projects are trying to achieve multiple goals – from increasing awareness to having fun, to getting good scientific data [Slide 19] – and this complicates what we are assessing in each project and the ability to have generic indicators that are true to all projects. There are also multiple learning that participants can gain from citizen science [Slide 20], including personal development, and also attraction and rejection factors that influence engagement and enquiry [Slide 21]. This can also be demonstrated in a personal journey – in this example Alice Sheppard’s journey from someone with interest in science to a citizen science researcher [Slide 22].

However, we should not look only at the individual participant, but also at the communal level. An example for that is provided by the noise monitoring app in the EveryAware project [Slide 23] (importantly, EveryAware was part of Future Emerging Technologies – part of the top excellence programme of EU funding). The application was used by communities around Heathrow to signal their experience and to influence future developments [Slide 24]. Another example of communal level impact is in Putney, where the work with Mapping for Change led to change in the type of buses in the area [Slide 25].

In summary [Slide 26], we need to pay attention to the multiplicity of goals, objectives, and outcomes from citizen science activities. We also need to be realistic – not everyone will become an expert, and we shouldn’t expect mass transformation. At the same time, we shouldn’t expect it not to happen and give up. It won’t happen without funding (including to participants and people who are dedicating significant time).

Institutional aspects

The linkage of citizen science to other aspects of open science come through DITOs bus in Birmingham participants’ right to see the outcome of work that they have volunteered to contribute to [Slide 28]. Participants are often highly educated, and can also access open data and analyse it. They are motivated by contribution to science, so a commitment to open access publication is necessary. This and other aspects of open science and citizen science are covered in the DITOs policy brief [Slide 29]. A very important recommendation from the brief is that recognition that “Targeted actions are required. Existing systems (funding, rewards, impact assessment and evaluation) need to be assessed and adapted to become fit for Citizen Science and Open Science.”

We should also pay attention to recommendations such as those from the League of European Research Universities (LERU) report from 2016 [Slide 30]. In particular, there are recommendations to universities (such as setting a single contact point) and to funders (such as setting criteria to evaluate citizen science properly). There are various mechanisms to allow universities to provide an entry point to communities that need support. Such a mechanism is called “science shop” and provide a place where people can approach the university with an issue that concerns them and identify researchers that can work with them. Science shops require coordination and funding to the students who are doing their internships with community groups. Science shops and centres for citizen science are a critical part of opening up universities and making them more accessible [Slide 31].

Universities can also contribute to open science, open access, and citizen science through learning – such as, with a MOOC that designed to train researchers in the area of citizen science and crowdsourcing that we run at UCL [Slide 32].

In summary, we can see that citizen science is an area that is expanding rapidly. It got multifaceted aspects for researchers, participants and institutions, and care should be taken when considering how to evaluate them and how to provide indicators about them – mix methods are needed to evaluate & monitor them.

There are significant challenges of recognition: as valid excellent research, to have a sustainable institutional support, and the most critical indicator – funding. The current models in which they are hardly being funded (<1% in NERC, for example) show that funders still have a journey between what they are stating and what they are doing.


Reflection on the discussion: from attending the workshop and hearing about open access, open data, and citizen science, I left the discussion realising that the “societal engagement” is a very challenging aspect of the open science agenda – and citizen science practitioners should be aware of that. My impression is that with open access, as long as the payment is covered (by funder or the institution), and as long as the outlet is perceived as high quality, scientists will be happy to do so. The same can be said about open data – as long as funders are willing to cover the costs and providing mechanisms and support for skills, for example through libraries then we can potentially have progress there, too (although over protection over data by individual scientists and groups is an issue).

However, citizen science is opening up challenges and fears about expertise, and perceptions about it risking current practices, societal status, etc. Especially when considering the very hierarchical nature of scientific work – at the very local level through different academic job ranking, and within a discipline with specific big names setting the agenda in a specific field. These cultural aspects are more challenging.

In addition, there seem to be a misunderstanding of what citizen science is and mixing it with more traditional public engagement, plus some views that it can do fine by being integrated into existing research programmes. I would not expect to see major change without providing a clear signal through significant funding over a period of time that will indicate to scientists that the only way to unlock such funding is through societal engagement. This is not exactly a “moonshot” type funding – pursue any science that you want but open it. This might lead to the necessary cultural change.