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Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy

  • Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science


About the book Citizen science, the active participation of the public in scientific research projects, is a rapidly expanding field in open science and open innovation. It provides an integrated model of public knowledge production and engagement with science. As a growing worldwide phenomenon, it is invigorated by evolving new technologies that connect people easily and effectively with the scientific community. Catalysed by citizens’ wishes to be actively involved in scientific processes, as a result of recent societal trends, it also offers contributions to the rise in tertiary education. In addition, citizen science provides a valuable tool for citizens to play a more active role in sustainable development. Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy identifies and explains the role of citizen science within innovation in science and society, and as a vibrant and productive science-policy interface. The scope of this volume is global, geared towards identifying solutions and lessons to be applied across science, practice and policy. The chapters consider the role of citizen science in the context of the wider agenda of open science and open innovation, and discusses progress towards responsible research and innovation, two of the most critical aspects of science today. @UCL Press, London
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... The inclusion of public participation in scientific endeavors to produce knowledge has a notable historical background, mainly in developed countries; some of its characteristics might even date back to the 17th century in Europe (Haklay, 2015). In the last decades, public engagement in science has spread worldwide, although its increase has been particularly outstanding in European countries and the USA (Bonney et al., 2009;Hecker et al., 2018). The terminology associated with this approach to generate knowledge is vast, diverse, and dynamic, depending on different contexts, vocabularies, and norms (Eitzel et al., 2017;Heigl and Dörler, 2017). ...
... Our results suggested that the inclusion of public participation in research on biodiversity is relatively new in Latin America, as its growth has been substantial only during the last two decades. In this sense, it is an emergent topic in the region that has received less attention than in other regions of the world (e.g., USA, Europe) (Bonney et al., 2009;Hecker et al., 2018). Its slow pace of development greatly contrasts with that of public inclusion in sociological and pedagogical research, which have strong roots in many Latin American countries (Gutberlet et al., 2014;Pontes Ferreira and Gendron, 2011). ...
... Results suggested that most of the projects that we examined were performed following a citizen science approach imported from developed countries (Bonney et al., 2009;Sheppard et al., 2017). Contributory projects might generate social impacts and motivate participating citizens (Hecker et al., 2018); still, they may suffer from differing from local interests and needs (Casas et al., 2017;García-Barrios and González-Espinosa, 2017), surpassing prevalent technologies (Rozzi et al., 2006;Silvano and Hallwass, 2020), limiting problem solving, and reducing the creation of local capacities needed for social development (Benchimol et al., 2017;Ortega-Álvarez et al., 2017). As evidenced by different initiatives, future investigations could advocate to develop a greater number of co-created and contractual projects in search for facilitating a more equitable and comprehensive research agenda that considers local research interests (Fulton et al., 2019;Townsend, 2003), incorporates different knowledge systems (Butera, 2016;Fitzgerald and Stronza, 2009), accomplishes a diverse array of socioecological impacts (Álvarez and Shany, 2012;Ortega-Álvarez et al., 2015), and evades the incorporation of the general public only as a data-gathering force. ...
Public inclusion in scientific endeavors has spread worldwide. Although participatory research has not been oblivious in Latin America, studies are better known from specific countries and the social sciences. We used an academic search engine for compiling the digital literature regarding public participation in biodiversity research (PPBR) performed in Latin America to understand its development, enable its comparison with similar research performed elsewhere, and contribute to the regional progress of the discipline. We obtained information for about 245 projects from the examined literature, observing that the growth of PPBR in Latin America has been substantial during the last two decades. Most studies were developed following a contributory approach, including the general public in a passive way. Encouraging the active involvement of participants in several research stages should deserve more attention for using the results in application issues, promoting environmental education, fostering long-term projects, facilitating decision making, and improving local socioecological conditions. In general, PPBR in Latin America is emulating a citizen science approach imported from developed countries. Future investigations could advocate to develop co-created and contractual projects for a more contextualized, equitable, and comprehensive research agenda. Impacts of PPBR in Latin America have been mostly academic; thus, further attempts must seek for inducing positive outcomes on the environment, productive activities, education, politics, and governance. Special attention should be paid to co-creating projects with rural, especially indigenous communities, including diverse knowledge systems, research approaches, and fostering transdisciplinary investigations, to increase our understanding of a bioculturally diverse Latin America through PPBR.
... While citizen science was originally designed for informal learning environments, researchers and educators have seen an increasing potential for using citizen science in formal science education (Zoellick et al., 2012). Analogous to citizen science projects designed for adult citizens, projects designed for schools tend to focus on either data quality or learning outcomes; however, these goals are not mutually exclusive (Castagneyro et al., 2020;Makuch & Aczel, 2018;Shah & Martinez, 2016). Here, we focus on learning outcomes and evaluate the effects of participation in citizen science projects on these learning outcomes. ...
... Depending on national standards and curricula, the time that teachers can spend on citizen science projects during course teaching can vary, but is generally rather limited (Silva et al., 2016). To address this problem, project coordinators should focus on the design of projects that fit into the curriculum of the target learning group (Aivelo & Huovelin, 2020;Makuch & Aczel, 2018). The connection to the school curricula must not only be fulfilled through a certain topic but through working with data analysis and interpretation as well (Vohland, Land-Zandstra, et al., 2021). ...
Citizen science is an expanding field in public education and learning and can bridge the gap between science and society. This benefits not only just citizen learning and scientific research, but also earlier learning in formal science education. Citizen science can foster an understanding of engagement with science as well as the perception of the relevance of scientific topics. Based on a review of several citizen science projects in school contexts, potential learning outcomes are identified, showing that citizen science can enhance aspects including pupils’ motivation, interest and knowledge as well as their scientific and communication skills. Project designs with a high level of pupil involvement are found to be particularly promising in terms of achieving learning objectives. However, curricular standards require the thorough preparation of citizen science projects to enable the development of their full potential for all participants.
... As a result, reliable scientific data is co-produced and can be used by the quadruple helix (4H) stakeholders (civil society, academia and scientific community, policymakers, industry and SMEs) [Carayannis and Campbell, 2010], to address societal, environmental and economic challenges [Lepczyk et al., 2020]. CS projects have thus a huge potential when it comes to the communication of science, evidence and data, as they have the opportunity to engage at very different levels with all the aforementioned stakeholders [Elorza et al., 2021;Hecker et al., 2018; European Committee of the Regions et al., 2016]. ...
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Citizen Science (CS) can help change the paradigm of science communication. To test this, 38 ongoing CS projects from Italy, Portugal and Spain have been selected by the H2020 NEWSERA project to act as pilots in the development of communication strategies, specifically targeting stakeholders in the quadruple helix. The projects, together with stakeholder representatives and science communication and journalism professionals participated in a series of workshops-#CitSciComm Labs-where communication strategies were co-designed, using adapted design-thinking methods. The innovative methodological approach is hereby presented and can be an inspiration for others willing to implement improved communication strategies to target different stakeholders. Abstract Citizen science; Science communication: theory and models Keywords https://doi.
... For example, technological challenges related to project design and implementation, ethical challenges such as confidentiality of participants and contributed data, financial requirements such as for buying and maintaining servers or hiring experts, and so on (PARTHENOS, n.d.). Among the existing challenges, public engagement and sustaining participation (De Moor et al., 2019;MacLeod & Scott, 2021), as well as data quality assurance (Balázs et al., 2021;Hecker et al., 2018), are two that are critical in any CS project. ...
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The number of citizen science (CS) projects has grown significantly in recent years, owing to technological advancements. One important aspect of ensuring the success of a CS project is to consider and address the challenges in this field. Two of the main challenges in CS projects are sustaining participation and improving the quality of contributed data. Despite the studies that have been conducted to address these two challenges, there is still a need for new approaches, one of which is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in CS projects. Therefore, the objective of this thesis was to investigate the integration of ML and CS, as well as the role of this integration in addressing CS challenges. A comprehensive review conducted in this study of motivational factors in CS projects indicated that interest in learning about science and receiving feedback were strong motivations among participants in the majority of CS projects. Typically, experts verify the data and provide feedback to participants. However, due to large amounts of data, this manual data verification can be time-consuming. Thus, in this research, it was investigated how the integration of ML and CS can, on the one hand, automate and speed up the data validation process, and on the other hand, increase participant engagement and sustain participation by providing realtime informative feedback. To that end, a biodiversity CS project was implemented with the goal of collecting and automatically validating observations as well as providing participants with real-time feedback. ML algorithms were trained to model species distribution using environmental variables (e.g., land cover) and species data from an existing CS project, and then to validate a new contributed observation based on the likelihood of observing a species in a specific location. Furthermore, volunteers were given real-time feedback on the likelihood of observing a species in a particular location, as well as species habitat characteristics. Moreover, a user experiment was conducted, and the results indicated that participants with a higher number of contributions found the real-time feedback to be more useful in learning about biodiversity and stated that it increased their motivation to contribute to the project. Besides that, as a result of automatic data validation, only 10% of observations were flagged for expert verification, resulting in a faster validation process and improved data quality by combining human and machine power. Finally, based on the findings of the experiments and the discussions that followed, we made some recommendations for CS practitioners to consider before designing a new project or improving an existing one. The future objective of this research is to focus more on the challenges of ML and CS integration, and to investigate how this integration can be applied in other CS fields besides biodiversity.
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Mosquito-borne diseases continue to ravage humankind with >700 million infections and nearly one million deaths every year. Yet only a small percentage of the >3500 mosquito species transmit diseases, necessitating both extensive surveillance and precise identification. Unfortunately, such efforts are costly, time-consuming, and require entomological expertise. As envisioned by the Global Mosquito Alert Consortium, citizen science can provide a scalable solution. However, disparate data standards across existing platforms have thus far precluded truly global integration. Here, utilizing Open Geospatial Consortium standards, we harmonized four data streams from three established mobile apps—Mosquito Alert, iNaturalist, and GLOBE Observer’s Mosquito Habitat Mapper and Land Cover—to facilitate interoperability and utility for researchers, mosquito control personnel, and policymakers. We also launched coordinated media campaigns that generated unprecedented numbers and types of observations, including successfully capturing the first images of targeted invasive and vector species. Additionally, we leveraged pooled image data to develop a toolset of artificial intelligence algorithms for future deployment in taxonomic and anatomical identification. Ultimately, by harnessing the combined powers of citizen science and artificial intelligence, we establish a next-generation surveillance framework to serve as a united front to combat the ongoing threat of mosquito-borne diseases worldwide.
• Aim: This chapter introduces citizen science as a means for co-monitoring and co-managing impact of ecosystems and inland waters and what comes into play when implementing it. • Main concepts covered: characteristics and different forms of citizen science, community-based monitoring and co-management. • Main methods covered: different dimensions of the practicalities and challenges of involving citizens and communities in measuring the status of ecosystems, monitoring the effects of policy responses, setting targets for limits of acceptable change or ambitions for restoration. As citizen science requires the involvement of people, paying attention to their motivations, skills and resources, constraints and expectations provides the basis for sound and successful implementation. • Conclusion/Outlook: Citizen science is a fast expanding field of study in itself and its professionalization has implications for the impacts of citizen science initiatives for the health of ecosystems and inland waters as well as individual citizens, communities and society at large.
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يسعي البحث الراهن إلي طرح النقاش حول مفهوم العلم المفتوح، وأدوار المؤسسات الجامعية والبحثية تجاهه، والمؤشرات المرتبطة به أمثال الوصول المفتوح، المصدر المفتوح، علم المواطن، الشفافية، العلم المغلق، البيانات المفتوحة، والثقة في العلم، والثقة في التكنولوجيا، والتعاون، والمشاركة، والاتصال والتواصل، والمصادر الخارجية في جمع البيانات، وإعادة إجراء وتنفيذ البحوث، والأكاديمية المفتوحة، ثم عرض المدراس الفكرية والنظرية للعلم المفتوح وهي المدرسة العامة، مدرسة القياس، المدرسة البرجامتية، المدرسة الديموقراطية، وبعض الرؤي النظرية السوسيولوجية لماكس فيبر، وروبرت ميرتون، ويورجين هابرماس، ثم رصد المشكلات والعقبات المجتمعية والابيستومولوجية التي قد يُسببها المفهوم في إطار نقدي، والتحديات التي قد تواجهه، ومن أبرز مخرجات البحث تناول العلم المفتوح بإعتباره نظام إجتماعي قائم علي التشابك العلائقي بين العلماء بعضهم البعض، والعلماء مع أفراد المجتمع، في سياق يسوده التعاون والمشاركة، ليتحول المجتمع إلي مجتمع المعرفة، حيث يساهم أفراد المجتمع في إنتاج العلم، كما يستفيدون منه بسهولة الوصول إليه والقدرة علي إدراكه وتفسيره، والاشارة لمتطلبات تحقيق العلم المفتوح في المجتمع يجب زيادة الوعي بالعلم والتكنولوجيا والابتكار، ودورهم في تطوير الأنشطة الإنمائية من جهة، وأنها وسيلة لتطوير ممارسات التنمية من جهة أخري، من المبادي الأساسية للتنمية وحقوق الإنسان؛ الحق في العلم والثقافة، وكلاهما يتطلب تغييرا في الرؤية نحو قضايا الابتكار ونشر المعرفة، بدلا من النمط الحالي المقيد لحماية الملكية الفكرية.
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