The afternoon session started with Web development insights
Taking on the Challenges of Broadening Participation in Data Visualization and Analysis with FieldScope
Daniel Edelson – BSCS – cover fieldscope that allow people to collect data, design the form, and visualise and analyse it. He covered the Chesapeake Watershed Water Quality study. The area that influences the bay is a very large area. Information is being collected at times when school is doing things, so there are issues with the variability of data collection. Challenges to collect data – very few teachers and students get to the stage of analysing. All the time allocated was used to get people to the stage of data collection, and people used certain analysis tools to understand where to collect data. They want to have flexibility in data protocols, aimed at more reliable participation, and try to get people to analysis. The lesson is that effort should be paid to more active and structured process of engagement and involving schools in the process.
Patterns of Behaviour Across Online Citizen Science
Chris Lintott – Zooniverse.org; Helen Spiers* – University of Oxford; Grant Miller – University of Oxford / Zooniverse; Lucy Fortson – University of Minnesota; Laura Trouille – Adler Planetarium. Zoonivrse is now 10 years, with many projects, and pull data from 63 projects (ecology and astronomy) from 2012 to 2016 with 146,243,599 classification dataset. Looking at different classifications – in the first 100 days post launch, there is a range of classification. Projects have a peak after the launch and drop, apart from regular communication with the. High heterogeneity in the number of unique volunteers, with more volunteers in Astronomy. There is participation inequality across the projects. What they see from google analytics is that projects appeal across projects. in astronomy more male participation, closer participation by females in ecology. There are questions about what to do with over and under-represented groups. They are also analysing user movement between projects. email@example.com
Validated Dynamic Consensus Approach for Citizen Science Projects Employing Crowd-based Detection Tasks
Pietro Michelucci – Human Computation Institute. Pietro runs with EyesonAlz and want to share problem and solutions. The goal is crowdsourced classification and wants to explore things. They had a problem with random responders with bots, also people who want to do other malicious things – so using lessons from psycho-physics – learning about separating sensitivity and bias – the operator need to decide if it is real object that requires alarm, in signal detection theory you can tease apart the sensitivity of the apparatus to the bias of the operator. When using an approach that measures the process of putting information in. Another problem is how you combine the results from the crowd. They carried out validation study and found that around 15 they get into the research threshold that they can use the data. They use 20 classifications to get high quality of data. Another problem is analytic efficiency – not to waste people time and they started assigning weights to a participant and stop when you have enough information – a paper from Willett et al. 2013 on Galaxy Zoo 2 that allow you to assess expertise. Marshall et al. 2015 Space Warps paper and extends this approach to measuring in a collective way. The number is between 2 and 10 and usually 5 so it is much better to use of people’s time.
Working Together: Developers and Project Leads
Robert Pastel – Michigan Technological University – app development is not done in a vacuum: participants, developers and project lead. For a successful application, all those core participants need to work together. The methodology includes participatory design and UCD principles, together with an Agile development. The participatory design is done with project leads. Aiming to have an MVP in the first three months and starting a new app development after it.
A ‘Night in the Cloud’ – Geoff described the background in TV programming and the noticing that there are plenty of definition of citizen science, but for the Crowd and the Cloud, they use “science for, and by, the people” – and they set the programme to turn viewers to doors. Waleed recalls his interest in science – and he pointed to “earth rising” and the “blue marble” as influential ways of viewing the earth. There is also the power of face to face the perspective of close and personal. There is impressive data – 2.3m volunteers in environmental conservation – $2.5b worth of effort. Rick Bonney pointed that for many years, there was a need to see involvement of television in making citizen science visible, and when Geoff called, and after quick google check which reveal the involvement in Cosmos, he contacted him back to support the process of the programme. The programme also helped with EyesOnAltz that address the analysis of vessels in a video. The visibility of the project on the Crowd and the Cloud has helped in increasing participation. Waleed was noticing the commitments and interest of participants and enthusiasm and connection to the environment. The best way for high-quality data is to care passionately about what they are measuring. Jennifer Shirk – used resources from the crowd and the cloud to create a programme for out of school activities. The link to SciStarter helped in converting viewers to active participants and Waleed was struck by the commitment and passion of participants and their commitment to producing real science of high quality. The close and personal perspective is important to understand the world and the potential of it.
Below are the clips that were prepared by the crown and the cloud – the second shows the late Gill Conquest
Keynote by Dr. Ellen Jorgensen is co-founder and Executive Director of Genspace, a community biolab. She brings DIY-Bio to the conference. Her experience from the previous conference was the experience of “people want me only for my visual cortex” – contributory projects that are science led. Ellen interested in Public driven, public analysed of citizen science. Scientists are in the group by their voice is not stronger from anyone else. Publication is not the only major goal. DIY bio started in Boston our of the iGEM competition, with the development from SynBio – a level of abstractions that allow genetic engineering that opens up the ability of amateur to join genetic engineering. DIYbio is a mix from maker movement, synbio and cheap DNA & second-hand equipment. The core question for her was: Can the general public join in to understand molecular biology better? The biohacking labs came up through crowdfunding for equipment, then finding space. Genespace started about space in NYC in someone’s kitchen. The interesting thing was that people were fascinated by something that at work, she did every day. Taking pictures of the DNA going in the gel. Recreate space where we enter science – interesting, cool, and enquiry and tinkering, while ensuring that it is safe. Started doing things like going out to a park and extracting DNA from fruit and veg in a local market. Strawberry DNA extraction – to people to establish a lab was a radical idea. The press continues to be interested – creating community biotech lab fascinated and raised questions. The model is a membership organisation and also doing outreach and exploring. In order to facilitate the place, they hooked people on their advisory board – e.g. the head of safety at MIT. They found that membership wasn’t enough, and they started running classes – exposing people to biotech, and after classes people joined. At the beginning, a lot of personal time was invested before the organisation become established. There was a lot of interest from artists who wanted to explore bio-art, e.g. the work around picking up chewing gum, and suggesting reconstruction of faces from that which caused a big noise. They developed the organisation by working with other bodies in order to gain legitimacy. Joining an iGEM competition with college students was extended to high school. The issue with the default outreach is that people with higher science capital found about genespace, but not local communities or people from less strong socioeconomic background, they now have a programme that reach out to public schools in Brooklyn and she is involved in active outreach to under-represented groups. The balk of the citizen science work was from people that took the class, so the issue was to consider how to increase engagement. She brought from Alaska plant sample, and that was entry point to a more intensive project. Guwanus Canal project, analysing bacteria that are living in an area that is about to be reconstructed – all sort of atypical life forms that can be potentially used to address polluted area. About 50% was not identified, so there is plenty of things to learn about it. And there is a website on the microbiology about the canal and there is also presentation.
The space is also supporting entrepreneurship – for example, OpenTrons that build cheap rpipette,pette , and that can allow it to be used in more laboratory, and the interface is much better. From California came “real vegan cheese” they had a range or project. Some projects are really controversial – making a glowing plant. The controversial thing was done on kickstarted – it was showing public interest in GM product, plus the issue of giving seeds raised major opposition. There is also an open insulin project to try to re-engineer bacteria to make insulin which was one of the early projects. Very few people can get into deep engagement, but it is worthwhile to allow exploring projects that won’t emerge in regular paths. The community is diverse and a way to address genetic engineering, through the experience with children. The way they operate is to allow people to use space for any project – for profit or not for it, the way they want. Genespace project a platform for people to work, and they need to fit into the space and the safety procedures. Biosafety law is to be careful and not amplify something that is unknown.
Following the keynote, the second session focused on The power of traditional knowledge
Fostering Resilience and Adaptation to Drought in the High Plains: Ethically Engaging Communities Throughout the Research Process
Jacqueline Vadjunec* – Oklahoma State University/ Department of Geography; Todd Fagin – Oklahoma Biological Survey; Nicole Colston – Oklahoma State University, Department of Geography. The 5 state area is one that have a lot of environmental stressors – where the dust bowl started. Her routes are in Participatory Action Research, with links to liberation theology and human centred approach. An approach that includes all stakeholders and it doesn’t privilege the researcher or the science. Science is valued as traditional knowledge. She was trained in the tropics, and it’s a project about a long-term drought that started with self funding. Some entry points for using participatory methods for citizen science – developing questions and deliverable together. They started assisting a citizen science project about data sharing on hydrology and involving geologists and local hydrologists – they now getting into grant writing. Another thing is to support local museums – archiving, extracting data from microfiche and all sort of support activities. She also using the interaction with the community as a teaching opportunity for the student that work with the needs of the students. Another thing is creating safe spaces for discussion on contested issues. They have done a lot of participatory mapping and capturing hazards and risk mapping. Local knowledge plenty of time matches scientific analysis. They created storymaps as a way to share information – discussion over what is shared and not. Willing to help the community and support their work.
The advantages – better science and ensuring that data is verified with local knowledge, increased participation. It brings strong social capital, and ethical issues as the core. On the challenges, it require a lot of attention and agreeing to do things.
The Transformative Capacity of Citizen Science to Empower and Enable Agro-pastoral Communities to Adapt Their Governance of Natural Resource in the Remote Tianshan Mountains in Central Asia
Mark Foggin, Altyn Kapalova, Lira Sagynbekova, Azamat Azarov*, Evgenii Shibkov, Aline Rosset, Jangyl Ismailova, Samat Kalmuratov, Christian Hergarten – Mountain Societies Research Institute, University of Central Asia – Working in Kyrgyzstan and describing two projects with communities. The learning landscape initiative are about creating long-term monitoring of social and ecological systems, and they want to work in different countries. Citizen science is seen as integral to the learning landscape initiative. The area is dependent on agriculture and livestock, so agro-pastoral practices and there was land degradation, there is a lack of environmental data since independent, and there is no data sharing between research and local land use decision-making bodies. They carry out their study in Naryn province -a mountain environmental virtual observatory using weather station, cameratraps and cybertracker. and a specific “Kyrgyz mountains environmental education and citizen science project”. The project provide better climatic data and information about wildlife – specifically in Salkyntor National Park and Naryn State Nature Reserve. There are challenges in maintaining data collection by pastoralists. The work with schools and shared information. Cybertracker design was done by experts for pastoral community and national park.
Why We Lose Traditional Ecological Knowledge and How Citizen Science Can Help Us Rebuild Our Knowledge Banks
Madhusudan Katti – North Carolina State University – the first nations protocol: giving thanks to the first nations on whom their land we’re holding the conference. What we are doing can erase previous systems of knowledge. What is that we know about nature and how we understand it? How our knowledge decay and can be restored? Humans pay attention to nature – stars, animal, environment. We have our mind that we put forward – we are a way for the cosmos to understand itself (Carl Sagan). Formal science is one way of knowing ourselves. We pay attention to nature – diverting people from screens. Paying attention and acquiring knowledge, depend if you need to live on nature, or is it mediated through technology and markets. Those living in the city may know where the near coffee shop. Direct connection to nature can lead to an understanding of nature that also can help ecologists. He mentioned about changed in local ecological knowledge. When a relationship are extractive – just paying to provide information, it can cause unexpected cultural changes, while working together with an ecologist, there was mutual knowledge exchange that enhanced the experience of nature for both sides. Science and technology can also destroy existing knowledge systems and mutual appreciation can increase the pool of knowledge.
Learning to Work with Nature: Designing for a Shared Intelligence on Fundamental Processes Such as Soil Function
Peter Donovan – Soil Carbon Coalition – As a society we manage issues piecewise that looks at different issues, instead of looking in a more holistic way, with skirmishes between different people and interests. Beyond all of it, there are the carbon and water cycles. “Humankind is nature becoming aware of itself” Eliee Reclus (1905) – this is beyond coupled human/nature systems. One way to improve knowledge is to have participatory shared intelligence, leading to appropriate results. If we have bottom-up asset based approach that can help in thinkings on carbon and water cycle. We need to consider repeatability: location, measuring before and after, open data, and people willing and capable to report. Further information is in socialcarboncoalition.org – facilitating shared intelligence about assets that are supported by communities.
Embrace the Bureaucracy: Navigating Institutional Barriers to Citizen Science Organizer: Lea Shanley – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Citizen Science: Overcoming Institutional Barriers and Growing a Federal Community Lea Shanley, South Big Data Innovation Hub, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil
Lea covered the federal community of practice – to community of practice was bottom up and 300 members – a dynamic learning network. Some agency had citizen science and they reached out to new areas – agency staff worked in silos and 2011 they started linking people together to create connections to share best practices. The worries where trust – data quality, administrative (paper reduction act) and other things. In 2011 convened the Commons Lab in Wilson Center and start to commissioned studies on the “science of citizen science”. They identified barriers and the need to create a toolkit for the federal government to address the needs of these bodies. They tried to align the work with decision maker priorities (e.g. open government, innovation) and also political support. The also addressed legal issues – bring lawyers from the start, increase the funding, inform legislation, provide support to Holden memo.
NASA’s Public Participation Universe: Democratizing Innovation at the U.S. Civil Space Agency Amy Kaminski, NASA at NASA they considered how they can increase acceptance of citizen science – both employees and the scientific community. NASA got strategic goals with funding, in-house personnel and agreements with external entities – they are doing research on space and Earth science through space-based missions. Projects such as Stardust@Home and other projects. Citizen science is an exception, not the norm. Science community lack of familiarity – thinking that it’s not science just outreach, questions about data quality, and also facing the review panel and its conservative approach. Applicants don’t take the risk. They created funding opportunities, create a community of practice and explicitly introduce to it in the umbrella language that points to it. They are also fostering collaborations with open innovation communities.
Citizen Science at the US Environmental Protection Agency
Alison Parker*, ORISE fellow hosted by the US Environmental Protection Agency; Barbara Martinez, Conservation X Labs. Considered how crowdsourcing and citizen science at the EPA. Talked to many researchers and scientists at the EPA – it’s the issue “I want to use it, but… “. The paperwork reduction act – administrative structure that requires any data collection from the public need to develop information collection request, publishing twice and requesting permission – this is a major hurdle. There is a report from Robert Gellman who suggested to Embrace the bureaucracy, or have umbrella clearance that will be used for other activities – each project gets approval from OMB, and that facilitate it in 2 weeks instead of several months. The EPA went through activities to create this approval – starting in March 2015 and approving it in April 2016. They used the ECSA Ten Principles contributed to the policy formation and help to define what falls under citizen science. The way to improve adoption was to take several trends: citizen science, IoT, Smart Cities – they made the Smart City Air Challenge to deploy hundreds of sensors to monitor continuously. They received 22 submissions and demonstrated interest. There was partnering with a local organisation – Open Air Baltimore and Lafayette network are deploying system .Citizen scientists are eager to engage with an issue that they care about, partner with others, and share their knowledge. The NACEPT (National Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology) report provided a start but they started the process but it is just the beginning.
The Importance of Design in Open Innovation Efforts Sophia Liu, US Geological Survey
As innovation specialist – specialist in human-centred design. She created in 2013-2014 created Crisis Crowdsourcing Framework. they’ve done the iCoast to take information to improve USGS coastal erosion method. They have been agile UX design – starting from Matlab, then tried with Ruby and PHP. Different technologies allow to try it. Images for pre and post storm allow people to analyse the different. Tools such as magnifying glass that use low res image that helps to understand what is happening with the participants. Actually the design help in data quality. Lots of hacking red tape to understand what is needed – e.g. through small pilots. STOP challenges: socio-cultural, technological, organisational and political/policy
The community of practice wanted to raise awareness, try to streamline the ways to approve it and provide resources – growing the network – not only bottom-up but also top-down. Regarding funding – for small not-for-profit working on disadvantaged communities, complex grant applications are a major obstacle due to funding and time resources. The way to solve that might be to work together through partnerships with government bodies that might have the same goals as you and build personal relationships. Design issues at USGS – the original users are the internal scientists who provide the gold standard set for the process, and also working locally. You must engage with people early on.
Citizen Science Communication – Connecting Across Disciplines
Organizer: Susanne Hecker – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Interconnecting these two fields – citizen science and science communication to discuss it together.
Beyond the deficit model – Communication in citizen science
Susanne Hecker, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/German Centre for integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
“Citizen Science is one of the most dramatic development in science communication in recent years” (Lewenstein) – the talk will explore how science is communicated towards the public. She start from a description of a scientist (Hanz) who have knowledge, expertise, and methods. When it comes to the public, Hanz thinks of deficits that the public have – cognitive deficit, lack of interest, deficit of knowledge – it’s a value judgement. The model was challenged – – in 2016 the journal of science communication explored if the deficit model is dead or not. The literature said that when going to science communication, the deficit model is still there in the way scientists talk to the public. In the 1980s, with the report from the Royal Society, there was a talk about moving toward dialogue and engagement – the scientist get out of the house of science, and now experience face to face integration with the public and seeing the range of ideas and approaches that are there. Kaplan concepts of two communities showed different concerns, language and focus. In citizen science, the communication is more complex – if the project doesn’t do the science communication well, then people go away. The scientists are also not in control – there is an exchange of ideas among the participants, expertise from both sides, traditional knowledge. So what are the main form of a contributory project – need to find out how to motivate people, train, inform, instruct, educate, disseminate, inspire, provide feedback. In a co-created project there are fewer people and the interaction is more intense, and the participants have their own concerned from personal concerns, to issues about their work – so the science communication aims are different – there is an exchange, negotiations of commons aim, collaborate, create agree and discuss, listen and disseminate. It is important to understand. The main driver for sci comm in citizen science include a dialogue on a par – not everyone has the same power, but it is more about respect. Relevant to communicate things that are relevant to the audience that was to participate. It is important to have transparency about what is happening and what is not happening. Finally you need engagement. There are four key players: scientists, citizens, media, and also communication mediators.
What are the interesting questions about citizen science?
Bruce V. Lewenstein, Cornell University
Valuing citizen science participation for an academics? Where citizen science work and doesn’t work? How do you create a voice to the participants? What is the long-term impact on volunteers? What model of communication are you assuming? How different perception of science influence participation? What are our responsibility? What levels of scientific literacy among participants? How to communicate to policy makers and decision makers the results?
There are three meanings there are two complex: measuring, identify cases – practical things, then there are things of the implications of how we thinks about academia. For many years, there were scientists engaged in policy for people who scientists who engaged in policy process where citizen scientists. There was citizens engaged in science policy through consensus conferences etc. Finally there was participation in the scientific process. He then covered the Irwin/Bonney view of citizen science. Irwin takes the view of engagement in a political and democratic way in science – how publics engaged with the governance of science. Some of the practical questions about communication hit this deeper issue. There is the use of Matthew Fontain Maury who was written out of history despite major mapping effort, because of the competition with the scientific establishment – only the special will know. Maury viewed as something that everyone can contribute – he was Southerner and moved out when the war started, as well as being difficult person, was a reason to write him out. Seeing science as elitist has prevailed since. Part of the problem with the naming of citizen science is coming from the political aspects – is it about opening science or building up forms of elite knowledge.
The common questions are the one that come up usually: data validity, contribution to reliable knowledge, volunteer motivation, what do participants learn? In STS they are calling for papers with more explicit political aspects – civic science, citizen science as resistance, The invisibility of citizen scientists, issues of participation inequality. There are questions about the nature of expertise and who holds it? How does expertise shape openness to participation? Challenges to defining those that are not experts. Who owns data? What is the role of labourers or technicians? What is the role of everyone? How do community based project acquire authority? but ultimately there is questions of citizenship – what are they citizens of? What kind of citizenship
Increase in education might be about challenging the process of challenging expertise – the point of shifting from deficit to engagement are about things that influence the process which are about more complex relationship of knowledge. There are all sort of knowledge, and the deficits are more than just about scientific literacy – think about science literacy within the community. The deficit model assume that the problem is that if problems will just disappear and they see it in the same way as scientists – but they will have different views and understanding of the world. There is also implicit knowledge that is hard to articulate. Transfer of knowledge doesn’t work simply and require transformation of the knowledge – an underlying assumption that everything will be better if we pass the information. There have been cultural shift within the scientific community that they want to be much more informed about science communication.
Breaking the Barriers to Citizen Science Artemis Skarlatidou* – University College London; Alice Sheppard – University College London; Muki Haklay – University College London; Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association. Alice Sheppard presented the talk, exploring the DITOs project. The DITOs project is of significant scale – many events about citizen science across Europe, with 11 partners from 10 different countries. What we want is to get people involved in citizen science and to achieve wide and deep public engagement. Type of events that we’re running are things like BioBlitz, Bio Art, Exhibition, Science in Schools, as well as the science games competition iGamer, or the travelling exhibition bus that will reach to rural places without science museum to increase exposure to citizen science and the potential to join. The escalator model is presented, including the experience that Alice herself had in getting into science through her life. She also presented the early stages of the DITOs logic model that explain how we want to convert how the different activities lead to results and outcomes. For example, funding to add CS in a museum, that will allow more people to join and a person can leave the museum with some involvement in citizen science and that increase access to science. Different activities map to different stages in the escalator.
Citizen Science and Open Hardware: Creating a Roadmap for Accessible Technology Innovation
Shannon Dosemagen* – Public Lab; François Grey – University of Geneva; Jenny Molloy – University of Cambridge. The experience that has developed in public lab, which from the start adopted open hardware licences led to a gathering for open science hardware, which brings together those that are interested in developing open hardware tools and protocols. Science require tools and these are difficult to access and therefore presents a barrier to participation. Makers lead to tools that are cheap, open hardware, open source software, etc. and this can make science tools more available. CERN started developing the open hardware licence that will allow adapting and changing the tools for local condition. CERN licence is aimed to have verified and tested tools. The first gathering for open science was in CERN, people are coming together from different areas and experiences and this allow to bring 50 people, and the second event was in Chile, with 180 people applying after a second year with strong commitment to equity in terms of gender, geography, position in terms for accepting participants. Gathering for Open Science Hardware has now set of principles that are available on the website. There is also think about on how equity is increase to scientific tools – tools need to be made of material that can be sourced locally and repaired. Politics of designing a tool were considered – there are many tools that are available: from sensors, to devices. There is a mission to change things by 2025, with many more accessible tools and more participatory approaches.
What We Learned from Talking to 110 People About Citizen Science Tools: Scaling and Sustaining Through the NSF Innovation Corps for Learning Program
Micah Lande – Arizona State University; Darlene Cavalier* – Arizona State University, School for the Future of Innovation in Society; Brianne Fisher – ; David Sittenfeld – ; Erica Prange – SciStarter and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History; Catherine Hoffman – SciStarter. SciStarter received funding to explore the perceptions and needs of the people who are using the platform. The survey looked at SciStarter and how people join and use the project. SciStarter is helping to help people’s journeys and noticing that people join more than one project – usually 3-5. They look at current data sharing. The identity problem with access to tools that contribute to a project, so SciStarter is considered how to get people kits that can help with tools. They can consider kits that help people to join several projects. There is a potential to give people set of instruments that can help them join a set of related project – the analysis from SciStarter can help in understanding which projects cluster. Instruments can be made more discoverable, and project owners should also know about the type of instruments that are available in other projects.
Getting It Right or Being Top Rank: Games in Citizen Science
Marisa Ponti* – University of Gothenburg; Thomas Hillman – University of Gothenburg; Christopher Kullenberg – University of Gothenburg; Dick Kasperowski – University of Gothenburg. The study looks at the tension between science and games in citizen science. They look at Foldit and Galaxy Zoo. Assuming difference in the characteristics – they’ve done qualitative data in the Foldit forum and galaxy forum. Look for threads, and identified 15 threads (384 posts) in Foldit and 5 (189) in Galaxy zoo. The analysis identified 8 themes – they found the community appear a lot in Foldit more than galaxy zoo, while Foldit felt close. In games, there are issues with views that are concerned with community, cheating, and competition in Galaxy Zoo. In Foldit there are issues of fairness, and the scoring is concerned with a design that helps the scientific outcomes. There are mixed feeling about competition and sharing – they feel guarded and protective about the best technique. Galaxy zoo – we’re part of a great science project, not a game.. In Foldit, the chance of finding a real solution or getting lucky, but many are there for the game. Implications: important of implicit normative ideals of the science of participants; opposition between equality and meritocracy (Foldit); problematization of the dualism science vs game – but participants don’t necessarily accept it.
Another session was Breaking Down Walls to Science Practice
The Challenges of Being a Citizen Researcher (‘Uh, Who Are You Exactly and Who Are You With???’) Ed Harris – Scleroderma Education Project Ltd. Pointed the issue of credentials and there are problems in the medical field. He pointed to the experience of presenting a poster at a conference. Without credentials it is very difficult to get into a medical conference – even in a rare case where enough expertise are demonstrated, you can be denied entering the conference. But, sometimes ignorance is an advantage – for example, Ed contacted top journal editors with advice on a poster that he presented, something that his academic collaborators found surprising as it is “not to be done”. Unless you are not connected to a university you don’t have access to the actual article because of copyright restrictions. Need to find a way to convince publishers to allow specific individuals to access material. If you established expertise before the “who are you”, you consider better, but then if you try to lead, you get into problems, especially in the medical field. With credentials, suddenly things became easier.
Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy
Aletta Bonn* – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Aletta covered the outcomes from the ECSA conference. Citizen science can have high innovation potential – in social, political, environmental, environmental. She covered the policy process – from agenda citizen science to analysis of different projects. In almost 50% thought that they can provide an impact on policy – they can provide data, expertise, new questions, setting agenda. For example, the CHEST platform allows the development of new ways to fund and promote citizen science projects. There is also a role for citizen science in policy implementation and evaluation – so we can see innovations in working together with environment protection agency. There is a need to understand the areas in which citizen science is suitable. There are issues with innovation in open hardware and issues about potential data sources. In how citizen science is done is providing different view – the main wish is to see the data available publicly for other users – want to see people using it. We have ways of identifying good citizen science, with the ten principles of citizen science. The wider context is the awareness to responsible research and innovation, and the need to increase awareness of science with and for society.
Mark2Cure: Learn, Work, Help
Max Nanis – The Scripps Research Institute. People who contribute are doing that for very personal goals and allow people to contribute by annotating biomedical text.
Floodcrowd: Sharing Observations of Floods to Help Research Their Causes and What We Can Do About Them
Avinoam Baruch – Loughborough University – if everyone that seen a flood shared it, we can have the ability to address them better. Citizen science through floodcrowd.co.uk helps people record observations – using different observations from different systems.
City Nature Challenge
Alison Young – California Academy of Sciences – the City Nature Challenge is about linking cities around the world and carrying out activities using iNaturalist and collecting data for it – doing it in April over 5 days. Over 125,000 observation in 5 days, many new species that were never recorded. More than 4000 people participate, of which over half are new to iNaturalist. The 2017 City Nature Challenge.
Doing-it-Together Science: Amplifying & Cross-Pollinating Citizen & DIY Science in Europe
Claudia Goebel – European Citizen Science Association – described the DITOs project and its goal. During her presentation, she asked people to tweet why they are coming together in the conference
Shannon Dosemagen introduces the keynote speakers by pointing that citizen science provides a way to question how science is done and how is doing it. Within citizen science, it is important to notice that scientific degrees don’t always translate to leadership. The keynotes speakers where Dr. Marc Edwards (Virgina Tech) & LeeAnne Walters (Coalition for Clean Water). Marc started in an area of
Marc started in an area of research about home water systems and was approached about lead contamination in a case before Flint that got him engaged with community issues. LeeAnne gave a back story of Flint – the change in the water source to the Flint river, leading to a deteriorating quality of water – people getting sick, and having health impacts across the city. This was ignored by the city authorities and the community members were described as liars and stupid. That was the point where she decided to learn about the science – got through a lot of learning about water distribution system. In April 2015 in interaction with professionals, she pointed that “I’m not a scientist, but I am trying to be” and with EPA being shocked about the results from the water. They started to work with Marc in 2015 and when they put the report in that year the EPA apologised to the city authorities about releasing information to the public. In late 2015 they did a city-wide study in 2015 with NSF funding to carry out a 300 houses studies across the city. Marc – the roles here need to be clear – when LeeAnne called, she has done all the science that was needed. There are many problems with the current system and scientists are trained cowards. LeeAnne brought a case where all the science have been worked out, but without scientist approving the information this was not acceptable. Citizens are “not allowed to have a brain” while scientists are “not allowed to have a heart” – the scientists are not expected to be activists. LeeAnne – she’s been dismissed, ignored and called stupid although they have done the science and carried out the study carefully – in citizen science, the issue is who is going to be credited. In the Flint story, no one cared about the credits – it was about saving a city and helping children not to be poisoned. During the first year, they were dismissed by the state authority – Virginia Tech did experiments that the state was supposed to do with school children and then the kids wrote to the governor. There was no science to do – it was about fighting to get things right. The support to Flint already passed $600m and this is because it managed to become a national story in 2016. Marc points that he see LeeAnne grows from concern citizens to a very capable leader in citizen science. You need a strong trust and collaboration between citizens and scientists. The issue is that cheating by officials about water quality is happening across the country because of lack of funding and pressures on resources in both rural and urban communities. The Flint story doesn’t happen every day with over 40 documentaries to date about it and the citizen science collaboration. Citizen Science at its worst and can be exploited. After the federal emergency was declared – there was
However, Flint provides a demonstration for Citizen Science at its worst and can be exploited. After the federal emergency was declared – there was an effort from authorities, EPA and others to rebuild trust, but into the scenario of trust and Water Defence – an organisation that started claiming that the water are not safe to bath or shower, and they gave statements to this effect. The Water Defence people claimed of a scare and that caused an increase in disease, and there was no way – a Shigella outbreak,. The organisation was selling water filters to people, with the Water Defence who present itself as citizen science leading people to buy products. The way to deal with that was to call them out and the confrontation and discrediting them helped to deal with Shigella. The organisation is finding bacteria that no one can find, and doing all sort of methods and arguing that they give people information and claiming – when you give fame, money, then just like with academia, there is a risk for citizen science is hijacked towards bad ends. Pushing $5000 to the second poorest city in the US is irresponsible. LeeAnne – we need to keep the integrity of citizen science and keeping in a proper scientific way and this needs to be done. The right way is the only way. LeeAnne is refusing to receive any compensation for working over 60 hours a week to avoid conflict of interests. In society, there is a backlash against science, which is part because they talk down to people. Marc has used over $300k of discretionary funding to pay for the study – and part of it was returned through crowdfunding because of the media visibility. LeeAnne was trained and ask EPA and the Marc lab thought them how to sample, and even checked on EPA sampling and even corrected them on their methodology as she learned in and was doing it. Marc – working together with citizens require a lot of thinking. Preparing suitable test kits, training material, working with the community, and knowing that your career is on the line – the stakes are high as there are very powerful interests and very little room for any error. For every 10 communities, with 9 it will be “the water are within the federal standards” and need to have difficult conversations. We have many injustices – with air, water, and other issues. Citizen science can be a tool to shine on these injustices and then they can be addressed and fixed. The use of the http://flintwaterstudy.org/ provided a way to share information. One of the more memorable events was when officials and scientists on the official side laugh at LeeAnne in her face to dismiss her – you need to be trustworthy by yourself and with your work. When LeeAnee asked questions about lead poisoning, people from the department of health saying “it’s just a few IQ points, nothing more serious”. For LeeAnne, the health issues around here were the motivation and things that keep her awake at night and get through what is going on in academic papers – understanding the chemical reactions and interactions was challenging. Marc – in terms of academic incentives, the focus on publications can be very damaging in terms of holding data and not sharing it – it was important to share it openly to make the people in flint able to use it. There are issues of calling out.
Citizen Science Across a Spectrum: Building Partnerships to Broaden the Impact of Citizen Science
Environmental protection belongs to the public: A vision for citizen science at EPA Alison Parker (ORISE fellow hosted by the US Environmental Protection Agency) opened the discussion – she raised the advisory council for environmental policy and technology that developed a report (developed from 2015 and published end of 2016). The report called “Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public” with a vision for Citizen Science at EPA. Over the year, the council became convinced about the power of citizen science and its relevant to environmental protection. There are 4 overarching recommendations for citizen science, and that includes two citizen science models were identified: one led by scientists (citizen science) and use community citizen science to describe the community led. The recommendation in embrace citizen science as the main tenet of environmental protection; the EPA should take a collaborative approach to citizen science and listen to voices that are working in citizen science to make a decision. The second recommendation was that there will be investment in citizen science – specific funding streams, either new or in existing plans. The third recommendation is that the EPA will enable the use of citizen science data: a positive approach towards the data, set standards and provide guidelines. The fourth recommendation is to integrate citizen science into the full range of work of the EPA. Doing more than just contributing data.
Enabling Effective Environmental Decision Making in the Western Balkans via Citizen Science
Clayton Cox, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, US EPA – started using different participatory methods to see and contextualised community view in the Balkans about watershed management. They realised that EPA tools are not suitable, and done community led pilot project focused on common issues – illegal dumping. They introduce BioBlitz to Montenegro and consider BioBlitz as a way to increase dumping. The BioBlitz worked and identify over 30 medicinal species. To identify solid waste, they used a monitoring app with 700 data points. In Serbia, they introduce methods to improve watershed stewardship – both local concerns and regulatory issues (EU water directive). They increased partnership to SEPA and World Bank.
Civic monitoring with low-cost tools Scott Eustis, Gulf Restoration Network talked about expanding work by using different approaches in the Gulf Restoration Network. An area that is both industrial and natural resources. The restoration effort following the deep water horizon disaster requires community-led monitoring. There are doing monitoring in 30 sites across the region. The type of conflict includes the issue of a conflict between coal terminal and a restoration area. Kite mapping allowed to see into the state of the pollution from the activity. There are many activities in science that get ignored. We need to get to accountability through engaging people and need people with environmental concerns, people with expertise that can translate it to the language of power, and you need enthused organisers – to work together.
Discussion: how to get attention – in the Balkans, there is a selection bias of people that were invited by the REC, so Clayton didn’t have a problem getting in, but the communities there has an issue with population loss – for example. Scott – some balloon mapping trips were sold like fishing trips. They also have a programme to pay people to get engaged. Clayton – as an EPA representative, there is an issue of not going into advocacy but more about the approach and helping people to understand the condition. Scott – within the restoration effort, health is not involved, but health is a major issue on the Golf and there is a very high bar to prove them. Clean energy also come up in discussions. Health impacts are there, but the burden of proof is bigger.
Are there case studies that can link citizen science to the wider range of environmental governance – from community engagement to enforcement. There is a need to consider issues of data quality and process in order for it to be heard, but also to think about community building and the party board. Most of the federal agencies, which give funding now require evaluation and evidence to demonstrate what was done. There are groups in Seattle that monitor creaks in the area, but the focus of different bodies – e.g. EPA region 10 is less focused on the engagement. Getting people engaged is a big issue, and sustaining people through the e.coli monitoring every week is a major effort. So they share maps every week, nd have quarterly meetings to discuss the data with food, and they also engage with the utility company who have limited abilities (one person). In Oklahoma there is issue of maintaining interest, they are encouraging the groups to get together. Participants want to know that data is used.
Community Empowerment session
From Stewardship to Citizen Science: A Closer Look at the Learning Trajectories of Volunteers in an Environmental Education and Stewardship Program
Jennifer Preece* – University of Maryland; Tamara Clegg – University of Maryland, College Park; Carol Boston – University of Maryland; Daniel Pauw – University of Maryland, College of Information Studies; Elizabeth Warrick – University of Maryland, College Park
Collected data from interviews, surveys and participants observation. They used both inductive patterns and in structure codes to look at learning. They found that learning happen when people are developing awareness – fuelling passion through a capstone project and then developing community wide interest. People need support in their capstone group and from people who done similar projects. Funding and resources are important. In communication – noticed issues about social context. Working understanding strong water management, supporting communities with tools, addressing communication and interaction – through Nature-Net.org system to increase engagement. People are interested in understanding what is going on with streams – for example pollution and lack of fish in the water. Through learning about the project as the main issue, but then to consider how it can see how the work can evolve into citizen science. Issues of faith-based organisations and racial issues are address – there is some diversity on the project team, but not enough. Some stewards are
Science in Transformation: Stories of Interdisciplinarity and Public Engagement
Amy Lesen – Tulane University. She build on the work of Shila Jasnoff pointing that we need to relinking larger scales of scientific representation with smaller scales of social meaning. The challenge is that climate change and coupled nature/human system need interdisciplinary work and require communication with wider groups in society. Academic in biophysical science are not rewarded for work that involve collaboration with social science, working with community and civic engagement etc. The question is then is there a cultural shift that are happening? What are the challenges for people who are doing that – challenges and success and what are the stories of those. She done that in long historical interview and understand how they got engaged. The research subjects are people that involved in long term urban ecology sites – people who done outreach, policy engagement, and those working outside academia. She found how much this studies are highly interdisciplinary, involve participatory and community engaged methodologies, work closely with policy makers, but than experience push back from people in their discipline. The people who are involved notice issues such as social justice issues. One of the interviewee talked about who do we used the word scientist for – anyone who is doing citizen science and community science and follow the scientific method is a scientist. Citizen science helped in recognising their needs and wishes – building relationships is critical to make community engaged work.
The Citizen Science Association conference is held at the River Center in St Paul, Minnesota on 17th to 20th May. This post and the following ones are notes that were taken during the meeting in the sessions that I’ve attended.
Wednesday was dedicated to workshops, and I joined the Citizen Science at College level workshop. Organised by Thomas Tisue (Muskegon Community College); John R. Jungck (University of Delaware); Aerin W. Benavides (University of North Carolina); Julie Feldt (Adler Planetarium); Colleen Hitchcock (Brandeis University); Leslie Ries (Georgetown University); and Terry A. Gates (North Carolina State University). The workshop aim was to bring together academics who work with undergraduate students to discuss best practices for developing citizen science research within their university classes.
Some ideas about citizen science at undergraduate level – it can be about enculturating students with the concepts of democratisation of science, the value of open science and education. It also brings up issues of data quality, and understand connections beyond their discipline. There is plenty of opportunities for experiential learning. The issue is that move from a closed process that it is evaluated by the instructor to one that they are evaluated by peer and even participants. The students, of course, have different motivation to participate in citizen science.
John Jungck – philosophically, citizen science can be thought differently including different levels of engagement and about how it fit with societal goals. Think that each assignment is for a social good. Learning skills for the 21st century require developing citizenship skills, and investigation in the field is assisting in the development of issues in physics, biology, and mathematics.
Colleen Hitchcock is seeing the view of citizen science as an integral to much of the studies, and doing things like phenology on campus can increase bio-literacy and understand changes. In every class that she teaches there is an element of citizen science. The way to allow students to engage in research is to join an existing project as a way to save resources. The assignments include – what is citizen science – reflect on the experience, explore SciStarter, learn through a contributory project. Citizen Science can assist in enhancing classes such as about Climate Change. It also provides an opportunity for professional development.
Leslie Ries – she looks at research in the classroom, and instead of running a programme, joining an existing one. Looking at butterfly at continental scale as her research area, and this allows for well-curated data sets – butterfly informatics that provides data. She integrated the module into existing course to introduce students to this is to teach informatics in ecology and where the data come from. She now got a module that starts in a lecture that explains history, needs for large scale data and then citizen science as a source for that. The question development about being able to develop a question and focusing on butterfly ecology and develop question and acquire data
Aerin W. Benavides talked about the value of citizen science for project-based learning – it provides an opportunity for exploration that is missing in the previous schooling. This leads to teaching teachers about the potential of citizen science.
Thomas Tisue – in community colleges there is a need to help STEM students who are looking for research opportunity and linking that to citizen science group that want to learn to education and outreach, and considering the limited resources of the college open up an opportunity. In community colleges, students are many time first generations and lack context of study, and sometime need financial support to allow them to participate in an internship programme with local environmental monitoring. The faculty need to be involved and assure integrity. College can offer credit through independent study time.
Julie Feldt – at Adler and work on zooniverse. Different opportunities – educators are sharing material to use projects in teaching, with examples from middle school, high school, and college introduction. They have done access to Galaxy Data on Google Drive to allow students to use these data to examine information with Google spreadsheet
Bucky Gates – the students go on SciStarter, doing a project, and then fill in a review form that was designed with SciStarter, and got over 500 forms completed, and that helps in assessing which projects work and how people who are volunteered to a project react to different projects. Projects need to be simple – and creative. Can make data collection simple so it is malleable to different areas and allow an opening for creativity.
In different breakup sessions, participants explored 6 teams: analysing citizen science data; supporting pre-service and in-service educators (teachers training); independent research – supporting students; learning within the semester; using citizen science project in the classroom; and an open one.
The using citizen science in the classroom group highlighted the need to simplify and focus on what possible to get. Challenges of teaching in one semester – reaching out to mailing lists, creating more collaborative/co-created than just contributory and who to partner around college on a specific citizen science. Supporting educators – citizen science is not visible in museums, science centres etc. Analysing data – issues of developing different ways. Independent learning – learning from UK, Chile, USA. Social engagement is an important part of citizen science and is it suitable to expect students to come up with a question or join someone’s question.
There is a growing recognition of the need to have introductory material on where to start and which system, project, and platform to use. There are resources such as Studentsdiscover.org that provide information for teacher to get into citizen science – mostly to middle school
Darlene Cavalier talked about her “The Rightful Place of Science: Citizen Science”. Darlene defined citizen science as a way to advance science without a formal degree, or simply science. Darlene described her journey into citizen science: from journalism to science communication, and technology assessment. Darlene also explains the link to Science Cheerleaders and the way it works together and allows to promote citizen science project. The name if the book came from a series by ASU. The selection of chapters that were included in this book was done in order to keep the book cheap and to ensure that the process is manageable while being written by passionate experts. The different chapters are exploring the link to policy; definitions of citizen science by Booney and Irwin and the tension in them; How citizen science can be linked to teaching in class situations; media aspects of citizen science – but there are situations where citizen science and citizen journalism is getting close. Darlene also explained the role of SciStarter – different ways for getting involved in citizen science and giving multiple routes that will allow people to join in. The chapter on citizen science in community citizen science – and how it is linked to concerns of the community. The final chapter is demonstrating how citizen science can engage with people in exploring microbiome in the international space station, with people also analysing the data, and the story of how the project came about. The book ends with “now it’s time for you to explore citizen science”. The challenge of the book is to open citizen science to many audiences – truly everybody that is curious can participate in a project about their concerns.
Caren Cooper combined her curiosity, and the need to become scientist in order to engage with nature in a serious way. Once she had kids, doing field work wa less possible, so she started collaborating with volunteers. It’s important to acknowledge citizen science, as it contributed to science but also pointing to the limitation of main science – of things that scientists just cannot achieve alone. Covering the history of science. Caren identify the smartphone as very handy tool in influencing ability to collect and share the data. The purpose of her book is to demistify science and make it accessible to people – it’s collective activity where everyone is giving a little bit, and collectively, it’s a feast. Caren was surprised of the range of disciplines and fields that involving people and the different ways in which it is happening. There are some great stories of community transformation in the book about community action of plastic bags following turtle monitoring, to engagement of prison inmates in dealing with entomology research. The take away – citizen science should become the new norm in science and life.
Mary Ellen Hanibal, brought a new concept to audiences. Her journey began 10 years ago from a book about evolution. In the California Academy she explored with taxonomies, and she understood the concept of sixth extinction that is happening and she started to look at conservation biology, and that led to understand big data, and citizen science within this. The word “hope” in the title is not what she wanted, and want to see action and having a heroe’s journey. She also explored the need to act, to think about concepts like half earth and be aware of the emergency of saving species. Citizen science is a platform to bring people together and make people come togehter. She want people to reconsider the plae of humans in the circle of lifes – it’s part of a journay of life and we need to support other life form and find a way to do it all together.
I’ve took notes from some of the talks in 3 sessions about traditional knowledge, ‘Conservation 3.0’ and the citizen science posters.
In the session on Traditional Knowledge and Conservation noteworthy talks include:
The role of tribal colleges in preserving traditional ecological knowledge and biocultural diversity – Teresa Newberry (Tohono O’Odham Tribal College in the US), the tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) in the US represent diverse communities and cultures. The Tribal Colleges has a mission to preserve the culture of the local nation, and engaged with their community, thus TEK is part of the education in them. Language is critical to understanding biodiversity: indigenous groups speak about 85% of world’s languages and take care of 80% of the World’s biodiversity (Nelson 2015) so it is important. There is a link between biodiversity and language diversity. Local languages encode local knowledge and they specifically adapted to their local area. 40% of the languages are in risk of disappearing and therefore this loss is monumental amount of TEK. Looking more closely, language encodes worldviews and traditional knowledge systems – it’s evolution of one group of people in a specific place, and also encode practices and rules. It includes many layers of meaning and relationships between living things. For example, in the Tohono O’Odham language there is a term that make you notice that you don’t collect the flower until a hummingbird collect the nectar – and it is included in the way you talk about local ecology. Teresa developed a local calendar that helps linking phenology to specific language and events. Another tool that she developed is the TOCC Plant Atlas – linking plants with audio that state the traditional name in addition to write it. There are multiple values in traditional knowledge: unique multi-contextual perpectives, time-tested adaptation and mitigation strategies to environmental change and deep, local knowledge of place.
‘Manngem Thapnee’: The crocodile worship ritual of an agrarian community of Indian state of Goa, and its conservation context – Manoj Borkar (Goa University) – Goa is coastal and crocodiles are protected by the Red List of IUCN. The current trends is for the crocodiles population to increase and they have groups in swamps and some in fresh water areas. There are also tourism activities to see the crocodiles. The contemporary scenario – pressure of overexploitation of sand from riverbed, use of canals for shipping, unregulated backwater tourism, and fishing are making it difficult to protect the population. During the Portuguese control of Goa (450 years ago) there are reports on abundance of crocodiles. Crocodiles are viewed as demonic and also as divine status. Within the indigenous tribal culture there is a crocodile worship ritual in which they create a crocodile from clay and they want to appease the crocodile to avoid inundation of fields by water (the crocodile seen as the link to water sources) – the practice is going in December. The veneration is translated to protecting the crocodiles and can be seen as an example of integrating local practices in conservation.
Augmenting survey data with community knowledge to inform a recovery strategy for an endangered species in Canada: Identifying important areas of habitat for Peary caribou – Cheryl Johnson (Environment Canada). The aim is to develop a recovery strategy for the caribou – to maintain healthy species distribution and keep their area – the are very wide ranging area species – migrating over hundreds of kilometres. The process started with identifying locations, then the amount that need to be protected, and then the very specific type of the habitat. This mean working at different scales. They collected survey information from scientists and integrated it with information from local communities of where they’ve seen the caribou. Once they’ve identified 3 main seasons in the migration, they integrated it into their spatial model. When comparing the information from survey information compared to community information – the community had much more holistic and complete view of where they’ve seen the animals. The modelling process include consulting with both scientific experts and community members with knowledge of the caribou and that helped in identifying the most relevant model. The TEK was crucial in eliminating spatial and temporal biases in survey data by scientists.
The session Conservation 3.0 was open with Alex Dehgan explaining what it is about: technology, behavioural interventions and financial innovations are changing conservations. The field of conservation biology, after 30 years, there is increase in areas that are protected, but there are very high extinction rates, and we still have major challenges. The population growth will require 70% more food and the intensity of agriculture, especially with increase in meat consumption. Wildlife trade increase and we don’t have enough financial resources. Conservation biology is sometime technophobic, but how can we used opportunities to deal with issues? Maybe we should learn from other areas – e.g. the change from ‘tropical medicine’ to ‘global health’ – by increasing the tent to more people involved from more areas of research. We can have conservation technology & engineering. 3D printing to cellphones, we can consider the connected conservation and the used of multiple sensors, or use synthetic biology. There is also need to consider how to use ideas from behaviour change, marketing & conservation – altruism doesn’t work, only as last resort. Financial innovations – maybe environmental impact bonds, conservation finance and other tools. Think of design under constraint just like with iPhone. We can also consider crowdfunding – $16.2 billion – compared to NSF total budget of $5.8 billion. There are other ways to harness the crowd- from ideas, to creativity, to funding.
Paul Bunje – XPRIZE Foundation, considering the incentivizing innovation for conservation. Problems are increasing exponentially and solution are only increasing in a linear way and try try to find solution at huge scale. Open innovation takes lots of ideas internally and externally, and trying to find tools from all sort of areas. There are also new opportunities for identifying new sources of funding. The benefits of prizes/challenges – solve important problems, set aspirational goals – a moonshot, novel partnerships, inspire with new ideas. There are all sort of methods in open innovation, from incentive prizes or just innovation networks. Prizes continue to increase – flexibility, openness, but also the new ways in which stories are being done.
Asher Jay – creative conservationist. She explore the linkage between science and stories. Humanize science – not introducing a bias, but need the link those in the know and other poeple. Content need to be contagious, and enable the individual – making the individual impact about conservation. Looking at facts and figures, and then thinking how the story evolve – what is the point, how to create protagonist/focus, which elements will be included, emotional triggers – need to think about consuming the science and then acting on it. That can be done through using existing signs, symbols, icons. There is also the issue of foreground and background to help structure the understanding. A lot of the campaign that she created are about ‘stating the obvious’ that people as they are not always aware of it. The design for the digital age is that they need to be shared – open source images mean that they are used in many ways (including tattoos).
Ted Schmidt – covered Paul Allen philanthropy through ‘Vulcan’ and trying to bridge technology and conservation science. Some of the focus areas includeillegal fishing, wildlife monitroing and management, but also wildlife surveys and database. They carried out a great elephent survey – flying over 20 countries to count elephents. The data is working with IUCN to ensure that the data live on. Shah Slebe suggested the idea of the ‘internet of Earth Things’ – ability to understand how things changes in real time. Technology is a tool that can help but there are no silver bullets. We need to have be aware not about the drone but what the data is used for. The SMART – spatial Monitroing and Reporting Tool created a tool to understand conservation areas. SMART is a good model to solve problems. Technology need to be designed for the context – need to show that it can be deployed over time and in a reliable area.
Lucas Joppa – the impact that people have on the planet is the anthropocene and the information age – we have a combination of having 50 billion objects linked. Levereging information technology for conservation biology is seem obvious to those who are interested in technology areas. Empowering the crowd to collect information and identify (iNaturalist), or instant wild to work with camera traps, and GPS tags on the environment – animals also involved in sensing the environment for people. Mongabay – got a section on Wildtech area. Engaging with industry – there are different partnerships with technology industry and conservations – questions for help are backward – people don’t ask for the resources of working with the talented engineers that are part of the organisation. If asking in the right way, we can get donation of time and money from the engineers.
In the Poster session, there was a set of posters about citizen science, and some of the one that I’ve explored are
Understanding the environmental drivers of recording bias in citizen science data across Sweden Alejandro Ruete looking at biases in the data that was collected, and developing an ignorance index that let you evaluate how much you would know about a location. Earning your stripes: Does expertise aid the ability to match bumblebee images in identification guides Gail Austen-Price compared the identification abilities of experts and non-experts, showing that the ability to match is good regardless of expertise, but that experts are more careful and are willing to say that it’s not clear how to differentiate. Utilizing citizen science and new technology to improve the Palau national bird monitoring program Heather Ketebengang showed how in Palau they’ve used information from experienced and trusted birdwatchers (through systems such as eBird) with experts’ survey to create a more comprehensive picture of their bird population. Maximizing mangrove forest conservation through multi-scale stakeholder engagement in citizen science Jenny Cousins showed a long running project that have yield many benefits to all sides involved – including better local skills, academic publications and more. The microverse citizen science project: Collaborative microbiology research with UK secondary schools Lucy Robinson describe the work of UK NHM work which I’ve covered in the ECSITE post. Online participatory mapping of ecosystem services and land use preferences in the Polish tatras – experiences and challenges Barbara Peek describe an online PPGIS that ask people to identify values, positive and negative activities in an area of Poland. The project had it’s own participation inequality (2% of participants putting 25% of the information) and fairly few qualitative comments, but they were useful.
Population census of house martins in Switzerland: A web based citizen science project Stephanie Michler is an interesting project with species that people are already interested in and provided many artificial nest, so the level of engagement and activity in the project seem to be good. Within 3 years, the project presented good growth. Dealing with observer bias when mapping species distributions using citizen science data: An example on brown bears in Greece Anne-Sophie Bonnet-Lebrun show that a model that takes only roads as a proxy for where people will collect information is not good enough, so there is a need to understand where are the tourist area. Using citizen science to map geospatial and temporal trends in human-elephant conflict Cheli Cresswell show the progress in her app development to engage people in reporting on human-wildlife conflict.
On the last day of ECSITE 2015, the first session on the Future of Citizen Science focused on exploring citizen science with reference to Socientize White Paper on Citizen Science. Paulo Gama Mota started by covering the Socientize project. The project created a platform for citizen science projects, with the science museum of Coimbra providing outreach to different groups. The infrastructure supported projects in cancer research, brain research, physics, meteorology, and ecology. The Cell Spotting project asked people to analyse images from cancer research, and engaged 2000 participants in 50 schools. This was followed with evaluation – interaction with students, teachers and scientists – the project reached out to Japan with students using it at a university, unexpectedly. They also worked with 3 senior academies in the Sun4All project, and they felt engaged, learning things and being ‘useful’. There was interaction directly or through Skype with the scientists in the project – people felt that it’s important. The White Paper on Citizen Science for Europe was covering the range of models – there are potential in the future to create experiments that were impossible in the past. Socientize involved 36,000 volunteers in over 20 projects with scientific outputs. Open questions by scientists are what do I gain by working with volunteers? while for citizens, the question is What do I gain by working with scientists?
Claudia Gobel covered ECSA’s perspective. It provided an overview of the range of activities in Europe. Challenges: funding, link to education and training and provide training in the area, evaluation of projects, engagement; access to technology since citizen science is based on it; data policies are important for collaboration; dissemination and engagement. There are many bottom-up initiatives grown in many places – there are also top down projects that started by museum or science bodies. There are now networks of practitioners in different parts of the world: CSA, ECSA, ACSA. She explained what ECSA is about – working with the practitioners of citizen science projects. ECSA focus on the fostering activities in the area. Starting to formalise the organisation and what it should do. ECSA’s goals – promoting sustainability through Citizen Science, share knowledge about citizen Science and developing participatory methods for cooperation, empowerment and impact. The role of association is to provide network of contacts, especially in narrow fields, learning and sustainability of the area – much of the investment is project based so can maintain knowledge, advocacy and set standards and quality among practitioners, as well as knowledge on tools and resources – it’s a process of professionalisation of the field.
My talk put in extreme citizen science as an example of community led activities and the potential of using it to increase what citizen science can achieve. I noted that there is a need to understand science differently, in a way that make it more accessible and open.
Lucy Robinson from NHM explored the scientific benefits of engagement outcomes. NHM experimented with many citizen science approaches – from small to large scale, online and offline, and also in mobile apps. They are also mixing modes of citizen science -for example mixing field observations and online citizen science in www.orchidobservers.org . People take pictures of orchids while others help in classifying them. Citizen Science is on the boundary between scientific research and public engagement. The microverse project tried to maximise the scientific outputs and engagement outcomes – with effort in the design and working with schools, it is valued as something interesting and different that is worth while. The future is to have citizen science integrated in NHM galleries. Some of the question are: what are the trade off between scientific and engagement outcomes? How to design it this way? How to connect visitors to citizen science?
The discussion that followed explored several topics. First, asking about the difference between running citizen science in a university or in a science centre? The science centres have advantage in having access to audience and knowledge of how to carry out engagement. Next, regarding the evidence based on citizen science there was question about having not only scientific outcomes (good data, important data & analysis etc.) but also about the process, learning outcomes and what are the long term results. Another question was about the history of citizen science, especially the period where amateurs were ignored or less included – and the Constructing Scientific Communities project was noted. Problems and negative aspects of citizen science can be in not taking into account quality measures in projects and also potential problems in online environments of hacking (e.g. in gamed project where there are scores). Translation of mobile apps was noted as an issue, but there are emerging cases of open to translation citizen science projects. Finally, the opinion of the panel about peer-to-peer science that actively exclude established science from scientific activities. The general opinion was that it is a positive development and professional scientists don’t have to be involved in every project.
The session Participatory practices in science centres, with Justin Dillon, Merethe Froyland, Julie Bønnelycke, Catharina Thiel Sandholdt, Mette Stentoft Therkildsen, and Dagny Stuedahl. They cover the EXPAND and PULSE projects. The PULSE was about the increase in non-communicable diseases and improving health lifestyle. Movement was use as the health factor – co-designed the exhibition with future visitors. Started with wide and open brief and slowly progressed towards the exhibition. A big challenge in the research and development was the issue of time – how to do the project planning. Researcher who work in a participatory way need more time. The issues of recruiting suitable representative are important. Issues of co-design can also include noticing small changes that can help the process of learning. New ideas about the role of education, such as connected learning. Interestingly, some of those who are interested in science wonder why they should be engage with science centre – since they already know about the science. Another interesting point from the session was defining youth as experts – the framing can help in rethinking their role and how to work with them.
The session Citizen Science – Reflecting on processes was organised by Carole Paleco (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium) with Anna Omedes (Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain) and Henrik Sell (Natural History Museum, Aarhus, Denmark). Carole opened, noting how citizen scientists are involved in all stages – from data collection, to preparation to publication, and therefore modern citizen science is an extension of existing practices. Anna Omedes described the experience in Barcelona of carrying out Bioblitzes over the past 5 years. The Bioblitz is to discovery and deepen nature knowledge, improve biodivery census and celebrate nature. They started the Bioblitz with the university coordinating, but in the past 3 years the museum is coordinating with the city and other organisations. To be successful, Bioblitz requires a lot of organisations to be involved. They have now 880 participants in this year. lots of areas covered. They create tents for different organisation to set the area, and then start working with different groups in the botanical gardens. People are not just collecting, but also taking pictures and sharing them. People learn to analyse the samples – e.g. working with microscopes. They also have activities for children. They collected over 1627 species. For communication they have a dedicated website. They evaluate the participants’ experience in survey and people had a positive experience. Important aspects that she identifies include fun, making it local, provide opportunities to identify rare or unusual species, and provide opportunities for new collaborations. Awareness and curiosity in citizens triggered by working in scientist, and new dialogues. A question about the experience of people who are trying to provide false information deliberately – they are checking the data that they are getting. Don’t believe in a single observation report. In project that people go unsupervised, are suitable to monitor how areas are evolving after reclamation where the needs are fairly simple. Henrik Sell talked about rethinking urban habitats – the vision is to think of the city as areas of biodiversity. They do it by physical change, interpretation, and knowledge (mapping and collecting evident). The physical aspect is done with local authorities, the interaction work through ‘Naturbasen’ app that allow people to add information about their area. If people want to help in identification, they can take a picture and have help in identification by volunteers (30,000 registered users) – usually within 2 minutes (like iSpot). They also provide a field guide in the application. In a day they get 2000 records a day, and can get 1,000,000 points across the country. They have lots of information about citizen science activities. To provide feedback to the public, they have a website ‘rethink urban habitats‘ that provide distribution maps that was created from the contributions. They use local grids of 200x200m. They allow options of seeing specific divisions of information. The system is also use for education with schools using the tool and seeing what is relevant in their area. The museum maintain the data for the school so they can go with the activities over the years.
The session continued with 2 questions to discuss in groups. First, what is citizen science for you and how does it apply to your institution (museum or science centre)? Some of the points that came up is a range of involvement in citizen science – from plenty of experience to just starting. Thinking about those that are already engaged (amateur naturalists) and those who are not and can be invited to join. There is value in learning from other projects and sharing methods and resources. Linked to activities that are already happening. Don’t assume that ‘built it and they’ll come’. Some discussion about what is citizen science – between citizenship and participation in science. Potentially constructing the identity of the institution collaboratively. Not using citizens as guinea pigs, involving people in the process as possible. Involving school children in using data for their studies.
The next question – how can we measure if a citizen science project is successful? a possible success – showing scientific outcoemes (quality, rigour), use in policy, social impact, number of people and other engagement goals, behaviour change. There are different objectives and decide which ones should be taken into account. Informed by other participatory projects that are out there – Knowing who else is doing what in other disciplines. Risk of over-promising what has been achieved. Not suggesting one methodology but to offer a range of topics and evaluations and decide what to measure. Consider what you want to achieve. Must consider the time frame of the project.
The final session of the conference was Transforming science centres through responsible innovation with Sheena Laursen, Mai Murmann, Carlos Catalão Alves, Anne-Marie Bruyas, and Marzia Mazzonetto. People work on Responsible Research and Innovation and the role of science centres within that. RRI is about bringing and defining all the different stakeholders – and expectations that exhibitions and programmes are becoming better. Responsiveness and Adaptive Change. Carolos Alves started and try to understand what science centres should do ? There is no ‘science’ explicitly in RRI instead of science and technology. Science is the knowledge that allow us to change the world, and technology is how we do it. The issue of ‘responsible’ is challenging? Are there science and technology that are not-responsible? Need shared meaning of ‘being responsible’. First, ethics – acceptable ethical way. You can also be responsive, listening to stakeholders. RRI questions the sense of responsibility of scientists. There no programme for scientists or policy makers to open science for discussion, but there is an opportunity in science centres. The Cafe Scientifique at the parliament in the past 10 years was a way to introduce responsible research and innovation. The coffee should be good and space should be well organise. Need to give information to people about what it is. A public debate about scientific issues. Lively debate between scientists, public and political representatives. Covering issues fas geology, biodiversity, air quality and more – up to two sessions a year. Issues that matter to people, and having a range of participants. Having a clear information about what is going to be discussed – setting the tone in keynote flashtalk format (5 min), then 1 min pitches, also live streaming and broadcasts, small exhibits also help. Mai Murmann covered the RRI tools – responsible exhibition development. She highlight the important of mindset. Taking cultural practices, norms and interest into account – making science in context. Exhibition for and with people. The exhibition PULS was about health promotion and behaviour change. The involvement was done by working with different families. It is difficult to get into the mindset of RRI – they had to run special sessions to make people thing about involvement and responsiveness, with people making statements and being pictures with it. Anne-Marie Bruyas – using participatory methodologies to introduce RRI in the exhibit, the museum is based in Nepal and the mission is also with a mission to encourage jobs development. They have a science centre with an incubator. They resumed quickly after criminal fire in 2013, and they focus on marine research (relevant to the place). The development of the exhibition was carried out collaboratively, and brought up issues that the organisers didn’t expected. The way they’ve integrated responsiveness is to identify seven characters as special advisers that guide people through the exhibition. Visitors can compare their reflections to these personas. They also demonstrated some results of scientific research. There are plenty opportunity to find information on the web, so science centre should provide ways for visitors to develop critical thinking. Need to consider continuous challenge – need linking science clubs and science centres. There are opportunities in social media and in citizen science. Marzia Mazzonetto, who is from ECSITE completed the session with reflections on RRI. She noticed 3 aspects: bringing science and scientists closer to the public (exhibition, researchers night etc.) secondly, dialogue and discussions on hot topics of science (PlayDecide; thirdly, introducing participatory exhibitions with and for visitors. All that is falling in ‘public engagement’. However, RRI is more than that – it’s a cycle and require more involvement in other areas. The unmet challenges is how science centres become RRI oriented in their functioning? That require structural change – moving beyond box ticking gender approach for example (inside the science centres management and not only in exhibitions) or some people are committed but find it hard to convince colleagues. Science centres play an important role in equipping citizens to understand that they can play a role and become part of the process.