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

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

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

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

Susanne & Aletta in ECSA 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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 Larqué, 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 Hervé 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
scientists´ 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.

Identifying success factors in crowdsourced geographic information use in government

GFDRRA few weeks ago, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), published an update for the report from 2014 on the use of crowdsourced geographic information in government. The 2014 report was very successful – it has been downloaded almost 1,800 times from 41 countries around the world in about 3 years (with more than 40 academic references) which showed the interests of researchers and policymakers alike and outlined its usability. On the base of it, it was pleasing to be approached by GFDRR about a year ago, with a request to update it.

In preparation for this update, we sought comments and reviews from experts and people who used the report regarding possible improvements and amendments. This feedback helped to surface that the seven key factors highlighted by the first report as the ones that shaped the use of VGI in government (namely: incentives, aims, stakeholders, engagement, technical aspects, success factors, and problems) have developed both independently and in cross-cutting modes and today there is a new reality for the use of VGI in government.

Luckily, in the time between the first report and the beginning of the new project, I learned about Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) in the Giving Time event and therefore we added Matt Ryan to our team to help us with the analysis. QCA allowed us to take 50 cases, have an intensive face to face team workshop in June last year to code all the cases and agree on the way we create the input to QCA. This helped us in creating multiple models that provide us with an analysis of the success factors that help explain the cases that we deemed successful. We have used the fuzzy logic version of QCA, which allowed a more nuanced analysis.

Finally, in order to make the report accessible, we created a short version, which provides a policy brief to the success factors, and then the full report with the description of each case study.

It was pleasure working with the excellent team of researchers that worked on this report: Vyron Antoniou, Hellenic Army Geographic Directorate, Sofia Basiouka, Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport, Robert Soden, World Bank, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction & Recovery (GFDRR), Vivien Deparday, World Bank, Global Facility for Disaster Reduction & Recovery (GFDRR). Matthew Ryan, University of Southampton, and Peter Mooney, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. We were especially lucky to be helped by Madeleine Hatfield of Yellowback Publishing who helped us in editing the report and making it better structured and much more readable.

The full report, which is titled “Identifying success factors in crowdsourced geographic information use in government” is available here.

And the Policy Brief is available here. 

ECSA 2016: Open Science – Policy Innovation & Social Impact (Day 1 afternoon)

See the first post of the day here. After the afternoon break, the second panel was dedicated to started with Innovative approaches to civic engagement, learning & education

Michael J.O. Pocock (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK). Defined himself as an ecologist who is interested in citizen science. He is interested in ecosystem services and finding ways to engage people and communicate the ideas and imporance of nature to people – and that is why he created ‘hypothesis led citizen science’ in the Conker  Tree Science project. The project includes ecosystem services, invasive species and other ecological discussions within the interaction between the participants and the scientists, so it got an element of education. Challenge is evaluating if the educataional benefits that are assumed to be happening do materialise. Michael also shared the experience from the Biological Records Centre, which has been working for 50 years with different groups of volunteers and enthiasts for identifying species. BRC provide support through infrastructure, but the communities are learning and developing themselves. Meaningful interactions in the Conker Tree Project: we can have mass communication, but the mass participation allow deeper engagement. Also there are questions that are coming from the community of the people that were involved, but when the project team asked ‘what research questions should we address next?’ there was no response from the thousands of participants. However, direct emails and contacts raised research questions, but the level of engagement in this part of the project was limited.

The cost benefit report is here

wp-1463667959231.jpgDavid Weigend (Haus der Zukunft, Germany) – at the house of the future, the reality lab is a lab to allow people to create their own future. They want to enable people to share the future. Societal issues that they are exploring today are complex – such as data security – so their approach is to through their process that lead to creativity and exploration. For example, thinking about apps that help people to see what information is being collected about them over one day, so they can think about the implications and discuss them with facilitators. The type of engagement that they are trying to achieve is hard and they can reach about 50 people face to face, but aim to have apps and tool-kits to allow more people to be involved – e.g. through games which helping to understand issues.

Isabelle Arpin (IRSTEA, France). As a sociologist, she research citizen science – in her case the experience of gardeners from Grenoble, which were involved in a project about management based on insects instead of pesticides. The city wanted to convince the gardeners that the approach was appropriate management approach, but gardeners in the city were complaining about the use of insects. The citizen science was means to convince gardeners that the approach was valid. They were trying to show that they’ll experience more butterflies in the gardens. There was a clear evidence of change for the gardeners in their personal and professional life. The gardeners were not highly educated but as they were very engaged in the project, they learned more about insects. It’s not spontaneous to notice things (e.g. attention to insects). Therefore, we need to think of technologies of attention that make people aware of new things in their area.

Marie Céline Loibl (Sparkling Science Austria, Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Austria). The research of citizen science in Austria – well funded range of projects of involving people in many fields of work, and the scope have engaged many organisations: 450 schools, over 50 universities with interest to work in authentic research situations. It’s about offering people to fund research but only project that can students can be actively involved and do. Most students are involved because of guidance by teachers, not only by the students themselves, volunteering people – but all the projects have difficult phase in the middle of knowing how to go through the project, but when it works it is amazing.

Mike Sharples (The Open University, UK). The Open University is about inclusive research and education, and they have been working to allow people to do open inquiry trough the project nQuire-it where people can create missions and proposed investigations. On the platform it is easy to create a session and then using mobile phones as the measuring device. The app unlock sensors on the phone and see link between air pressure and precipitation. The professional scientists can have a role in nQuire-it – engaging professional and creating sustainable community is a challenge. You need to moderate and facilitate an inquiry to make it both sustainable and successful, and without it it will not be successful Experts can help in understanding calibration, data reliability and more. Another project of the platform is about birds and relationships to noise – which is an example of open question in the science, but there is value in the learning.

Question – Which budget should be used: research money or public engagement funds? Marie is using official government money with big investment, the open university are getting money from research, trusts, volunteers and more. Michael get funding from the government research and others. Is it possible to get ‘research money’ to do citizen science? The FWF in Austria started providing additional funding for citizen science for projects. This is also happening also at the H2020 level. Michael – citizen science is quality science but perceived as risky, and make research funders reluctant to invest in it. Looking at cost and benefits of citizen science, which was challenging. There are risks but the benefits are especially big when it works. There are also innovations that helped the EU.

How to measure engagement? is it quantity or quality? Marie – in Austria they offered awards to citizen science activities to encourage the incentives carefully – to make sure that data is valid. There are issues about quality of conversation and check that they lead to shared understanding – e.g. how you calibrate instruments. Looking at the conversations and outcomes. David – quality of engagement should be the top. There are challenges and funders sometime want to see high number of participation. Isabel – the importance was the engagement of gardeners was about quality and not quality. It is important to have trust and not just forced to interact with highly educated people.

Is citizen science about generating new science in civic engagement or engagement. Mike – they try to learn good science and good learning. David – the open agricultural project of MIT is carrying a message of decentralised agriculture and also doing good research Michael – citizen science is central to my work, but it is not possible to do the science without that. Equally, engaging with people give benefits to both side. The worst words in citizen science are ‘they should’ towards participants. Marie – there is a need to integrate both. Isabel – there can be a focus on engagement that also lead to science.

Citizen Science strategy and impact development in Germany – Aletta Bonn, Katrin Vohland. They shared the experience in Germany in development of citizen science strategy. there were hopes from government, NGOs and researchers – thinking about the added value of citizen science. The project funded by the ministry of science and education. They created a platform that share citizen science projects, providing events, interaction, discussions etc. Key insights: there was a question about the definition of citizen science – need a clear definition, but keep it open. At the core, these are questions about cooperation and participation and what conditions are needed for it. There is mutual learning which is under exploit area. The results is a green book with the strategy. A video show the details participatory process that they went through to arrive to the paper.

Some core issues in the consultation includes: fairness in participation process, sustainability of collaborative activities, and move towards responsible research and innovation. People comments include fun but also ‘science should be accessible to everyone’. There are in position papers different views of where citizen science fit. In the institutions, researchers thought that it should be in data collection and maybe dissemination. but civil society organisations seen a much wider role – less in design, but everywhere else. The recommendation include strengthening existing structures: networking, funding instruments, citizen science training and volunteer management, and synergies with science communication. Understanding different roles. There was also a recommendation to think of new structures – building a culture of valuing citizen science in society, science and policy. We need data quality and data management and the last recommendation is to integrate citizen science in scientific processes, in education and in decision making. They aim to move from green to white paper.

17:00 Citizen Science as an input for better policy formulation & implementation Chairs/Organisers: Jose Miguel Rubio-Iglesias DG Research & Innovation, European Commission, & Susana Nascimento Joint Research Centre – JRC, European Commission New order of panelists

Lea Shanley (co-Execuctive Director, South Big Data Innovation Hub at Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI), University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, USA). Lea experience from tribal mapping to policy engagement in washington. In 2010 she looked at public involvement in managing NASA assets. There is a citizen science act to help federal agencies to get hrough it – basic legislation that give authorisation to agencies to do what they want to achieve. These were concepts that work in the senate, but then reachign out to 60 organisations and people and then integrate the results into the legaslistic process

Roger Owen. There is a distinction between participation and citizen science. There is a long tradition in the UK of using citizen science data for decision making, but if we want to get into behaviour change, we need better dialogues and enagement. This is indeed top down – EPAs know what they got to do, and they tend to commission top-down process, but then they need to also thinking about other observers and what they are interested in, and we need to feed back what they are doing with data and how it is used in decision making

Christian Herbst (Deputy head of Strategic Foresight and Science Communication, Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany). The interest started from science communication perspective during the year of science. The ministry see citizen science as part of science communication. The coalition treaty stated that it should bring participation and science communication together. Bringing society and science together – involve more people in science. We need quality and quantity – we need to involve a lot of people. We need to have dialogues with citizens about science and need to initiate decision making process, co-design and co-production can be integrated in decision preparation phases – that’s an area for citizen science now.

Sven Schade (Joint Research Centre – JRC, European Commission). JRC is an internal science service for the EC. The process that the JRC done was to look at data driven information. They started in 2012 to look at crowdsourced data, but then more and more citizen science. They have just published a report about data management in citizen science – over 120 projects, and most in the environmental area. They are now moving to look at the way citizen science can be used to influence decision making. It doesn’t influence the process.

Elena Montani (Policy Officer, Knowledge, Risks and Urban Environment Unit, DG Environment, European Commission). Policy making is slow, especially when new technologies emerge. So they are reflecting on how they can integrate citizen science in decision making process. There is big potential: behaviour change, economics – showing that it will be cost effective, there are no success stories at member states to integrate into a wider framework. There is environmental knowledge community, and exploring how new forms of knowledge are emerging – looking specifically about Nature 2000 areas. They accept the challenges and also other opportunities . Apps are easy to use about noise, but they can be contradictory to official records, so need to consider how to reconcile these forms of data collection.

Lea – they are building on the long work of Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the federal government agencies there were a range of interest across the board – but they found agency staff that were interested, but didn’t know what to do. They began by linking champions through the federal community of practice – with funding from the Sloan foundation, the commons-lab in the Wilson center commissioned studies to deal with barriers – data quality, privacy, costs and created case studies approach. Also a set of case studies that demonstrated success. The ‘new visions on citizen science’ worked well to promote attention – getting high level support to such action. There is risk averse approach at federal agencies, and working through high level bodies such as the White House allowed the development of list of tools, and get their commitment – have executive on record that it is permitted.

Jan-Martin – we need to educate policy makers about the need to integrate citizen science. Sven – there is another level in the EU – the 28 member states have their own understanding, culture, approaches, regulations and systems. There are plenty of success stories at the national level across the board. Christian – although government provide funding for governmental guidelines, but in the end, but there is a need to listen to people and understand more about citizen science. Citizen science is about getting involved with science, which will influence scientific decision making. There is scientists opposition to citizen science – see it as a danger. Jan-Martin – use of citizen science for data collection – to what degree can they use the information for decision making, Roger – the anglers monitoring initiative show us that the aggregate data does provide early warning to the professionals. Data can be filtered and use properly for decision making. Sven – there are ways to measure lakes in Finland that provide new information that can be tested. Lea – in the federal government they talk about augmenting and filling the gaps, not about replacing. Elena – the EU is interested in encouraging participation – as part of Aarhus convention. Roger – air quality as a method to engage people and see how policies are in terms of effectiveness. Elena – They are potential that cannot be ignores . Sven – at different levels there are different needs and approaches. Christian – participation is different at different levels: local, regional and national.

Can citizen science help us in understanding the how? Roger – yes, it give us an understanding of how to do things not just in what. What do we need to tell policy makers? Elena – how the data that is provided can be integrated into their policies, and need to be reassured that it is comparable, and also what it brings to society – need dialogue: there is utilitarian approach from institutions to reduce cost of data gathering. Lea – another way of understanding what the citizens want, understanding of improving the missions of the organisation. Link the priorities to the interests of the policy maker. Sven – the opportunity is part of the digital single market as an entry point. Christian – there is also the potential of social innovation. Give new ideas to policy makers. Roger – regarding standards for citizen science, not simple, but SEPA develop the choosing and using citizen science guide. Sven – in basic services there are interoperability standards, Lea – for some data need to match standards. ECSA already published two policy paper. Questions to the audience: what are the experience of working with policy? what tools help with that? Christian – how many think that citizen science is about impact on policy making – an aspect but not the only. Roger – success of citizen science is about changing people behaviour – quite a lot of people.

Last question: one term – inequality: participation, opportunity, knowledge. Christian suggest that every citizen science should include dealing with inequality. Roger – interest in reaching hard to reach and marginalised communities, through dealing with housing association. Alena – citizen science is about dealing with inequality. We cannot field the gaps without full participation. Need to empower people that are not empowered. Christian – very important issue, as people across Europe are opposing political systems. We need to engage more people in scientific processes. We need spectrum of projects. LEa – pariticpatory mapping community have done that for many years, giving people a seat at the table. They reached out to groups who are doing social science data. Sven – citizen science is one approach but it can be used to help with inequality. Lea – there is also controversy about citizen science.

Aletta – observations: we had an inspiring day and we can think of new questions that are being asked and how people in the conference and outside the society address them. The diversity of the field is very rich in experience and knowledge. It is exploding on twitter (and there is this blog). There are new books emerging about citizen science.

Following the day a reception at the Natural History Museum and three rounds of discussion tables under the dinosaurs at the entrance to the museum…

 

Citizen Science and Policy – possible frameworks

Back in February, my report ‘Citizen Science & Policy: a European Perspective‘ was published by the Wilson Centre in the US. As I was trying to make sense of the relevance of citizen science to policy making, I used a framework that included the level of geography, area of policy making and the type of citizen science activity. This helped in noticing that citizen science is working well at the neighbourhood, city and national scales, while not so well at regional and international level. The reasons for it are mostly jurisdiction, funding and organisational structure and scale of operation.

Later on, at a workshop that was organised by Prof Aletta Bonn on Citizen Science and Policy impact, the idea of paying attention to the role of citizen science within the policy cycle was offered as another dimension of analysis.

Last week, at a workshop that was organised by the European Environment Agency (EEA) as part of their work on coordinating the European Protection Agencies (EPA) Network, I was asked to provide an introduction to these frameworks.

The presentation below is starting with noting that citizen science in an EPA is a specific case of using crowdsourced geographic information in government and some of the common issues that we have identified in the report on how governments use crowdsourced information are relevant to citizen science, too. Of particular interest are the information flows between the public and government, and the multiple flows of environmental information that the 3rd era of environmental information brought.

After noticing the individual, organisational, business and conceptual issues that influence use in general, I turn to the potential framing that are available – geography, stage in policy formation and mode of engagement, and after covering those I’m providing few examples of case to illustrate how specific cases fit into this analysis.

It was quite appropriate to present this framework in the EEA, considering that the image that was used to illustrate the page of the report on the Wilson Center site, is of the NoiseWatch app which was developed by the EEA…