Article

11/10/2021

Undertaking citizen science research in Public Health involving human subjects poses significant challenges concerning the traditional process of ethical approval. It requires an extension of the ethics of protection of research subjects in order to include the empowerment of citizens as citizen scientists. This paper investigates these challenges and illustrates the ethical framework and the strategies developed within the CitieS-Health project. It also proposes first recommendations generated from the experiences of five citizen science pilot studies in environmental epidemiology within this project.

11/10/2021

Co-creation aims at integrating citizens in the entire research process. The citizen linguistics project German in Austria tests this approach in the humanities based on the assumption that language is ubiquitous. The project combines different forms of public participation, including a co-created format, where citizens can raise (and answer) research questions about the German language in Austria and a linguistic treasure hunt, where citizens collect and analyze data on linguistic landscapes. However, co-creation was hard to implement. Despite a high number of participants, their willingness to contribute to more than one research step was low.

11/10/2021

Acknowledging the consolidation of citizen science, this paper aims to foster a collective debate on two visible gaps of the field. First, how to overcome the limited participation of social sciences and humanities in the broader field of citizen science, still dominated by natural sciences. Second, how to develop a citizen social science that allows for an active participation of citizens and for a critical engagement with contemporary societies. The authors coordinate a state-sponsored program of scientific dissemination within a Portuguese research institution and this paper intends to lay the groundwork for a future project of Citizen Social Science based on a new concept of “engaged citizen social science”.

11/10/2021

Citizen science (CS) is promoted as a useful practice for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this contribution we explore how CS aligns to the SDGs overarching pledge to ‘Leave no one behind’. We propose a framework to evaluate exclusionary processes in CS. We interlink three dimensions of CS inspired by existing CS typologies with five factors underpinning exclusionary processes. With this, we are able to situate existing literature on various exclusionary effects in CS within a structured framework. We hope this contribution sparks a discussion and inspires practitioners’ reflections on a more inclusive practice in CS.

11/10/2021

Understanding scientific concepts is a crucial factor in motivating dabblers at the start of co-created citizen science projects. This article describes PACMAC, a card-based cooperative card game aimed at introducing dabblers to hypothesis and falsifiability concepts through the visualization of a social perception map. The game was evaluated in five neighborhoods from El Salvador. The results showed that PACMAP is approachable for participants of different demographics to develop an understanding of the concepts of hypotheses and falsifiability.

11/10/2021

Marine research is as important as very demanding since it requires expensive infrastructures and resources. Scientific institutions, on the contrary, have very limited funding so that the seas remain, still, mostly unexplored. Another serious concern is that society at large often resonates with fake news, while scientists sometimes tend to bias research with their backgrounds and paradigms. We think that all these issues can be addressed opening the process of knowledge building to the questions and needs of stakeholders and laypeople. The MaDCrow project proposed and tested several paths to attain these goals.

11/10/2021

In 2021 Sweden’s first national portal for citizen science will be launched to help researchers practice sustainable and responsible citizen science with different societal stakeholders. This paper present findings from two surveys on attitudes and experiences of citizen science among researchers at Swedish universities. Both surveys provided input to the development of the national portal, for which researchers are a key stakeholder group. The first survey (n=636) was exclusively focused on citizen science and involved researchers and other personnel at Swedish University of Agricultural Science (SLU). 63% of respondents at SLU had heard about citizen science (CS) prior to the survey; however a majority of these (61%) had not been involved in any CS initiative themselves. Dominant reasons for researchers choosing a CS approach in projects were to enable collection of large amounts of data (68%), improving the knowledge base (59%), improving data quality (25%), promote participants’ understanding in research (21%) and promote collaboration between the university and society (20%). The other survey (n=3 699) was on the broader topic of communication and open science, including questions on CS, and was distributed to researchers from all Swedish universities. 61% of respondents had not been engaged in any research projects where volunteers were involved in the process. A minority of the researchers had participated in projects were volunteers had collected data (18%), been involved in internal or external communication (16%), contributed project ideas (14%) and/or formulated research questions (11%). Nearly four out of ten respondents (37%) had heard about CS prior to the survey. The researchers were more positive towards having parts of the research process open to citizen observation, rather than open to citizen influence/participation. Our results show that CS is a far from well-known concept among Swedish researchers. And while those who have heard about CS are generally positive towards it, researchers overall are hesitant to invite citizens to take part in the research process.

04/10/2021

Scientists highlight that actions that address environmental protection and climate change can also help with reducing infectious disease threats. Results using data from a national sample survey in New Zealand indicate that perceptions of co-benefits of actions to address environmental protection that also protect against infectious disease outbreaks such as the coronavirus is associated with policy support and political engagement. This association was partly mediated through perceived collective efficacy. Local councils with higher level of community collective efficacy were more likely to declare climate emergency. Communication about potential co-benefits is likely to shape public engagement and enact policy change.

29/09/2021

The promise of CRISPR-Cas9 (CRISPR) genomic editing applied to agriculture is promoted widely by scientists. We utilized textual analysis methods to compare perceptions of this innovation held by various stakeholder groups — scientists, policymakers, farmers, and the general public. Results reveal distinctions in the semantic structure and concepts emphasized across groups. Scientists and policymakers exhibited a high level of technical sophistication while emphasizing the potential societal benefits, while farmers and the general public focused on perceived personal benefits and familiarity with the issue. These results will aid development of message strategies bridging the gap between the scientific community and key publics.

15/09/2021

This study examines early-career scientists' cognition, affect, and behaviors before, during, and after a series of science communication training workshops drawing from the Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) and Theory of Planned Behavior theoretical models. We find correlations between engagement (throughout the training), self-reported knowledge and intention to apply their science communication skills. We discuss implications of these findings for science communication training, in particular that science communication behaviors and investment in skill development appear to be more dependent on attitudes and motivations cultivated during the training, rather than their attitudes and motivations coming in.

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