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Nov 07, 2022 Commentary
Citizen science communication and engagement: a growing concern for researchers and practitioners

by Susanne Hecker

Anniversaries provide great opportunities to celebrate achievements, to look into the future, and to do some self-reflection. I have the honour of doing so in a specific field of science communication that I’m familiar with: the field of citizen science communication, especially with a European focus. I hope this commentary prompts others who are experts in their regions of the world to also reflect on the past and the future for this growing field.

Volume 21 • Issue 07 • 2022

Mar 14, 2022 Article
Deconstructing citizen science: a framework on communication and interaction using the concept of roles

by Susanne Hecker and Monika Taddicken

Citizen science opens the scientific knowledge production process to societal actors. In this novel collaboration process, scientists and citizens alike face the challenge of new tasks and functions, eventually resulting in changing roles. Role theory provides a way of conceptualizing the roles that people take in communication and interaction. We use role theory to create a framework that identifies scientists' and citizens' tasks in citizen science projects, main aims of communication, spaces they interact in, and their roles — thus providing a structured way to capture communication and interaction in and about CS for further scientific reflection and practical application.

Volume 21 • Issue 01 • 2022

Oct 11, 2021 Editorial
ECSA Special Issue

by Susanne Hecker, Mordechai Haklay, Enrico M. Balli and Tim Woods

Over 500 delegates took part in the third international ECSA conference in September 2020. Across 30 sessions, as well as keynote talks, e-poster presentations and more informal settings, they discussed and debated a diverse range of subjects related to citizen science. This special edition of ‘JCOM’ brings together some of the central themes that were under the spotlight at ECSA 2020. Since ECSA 2020 has been one of the first examples of a conference that moved completely online, and it has been considered a big success, we also include the Conference Report, as supplementary material with this editorial.

Volume 20 • Issue 06 • 2021 • Special Issue: Third International ECSA Conference, Trieste 2020

May 10, 2021 Article
A question of dialogue? Reflections on how citizen science can enhance communication between science and society

by Katherin Wagenknecht, Tim Woods, Christian Nold, Simone Rüfenacht, Silke Voigt-Heucke, Anne Caplan, Susanne Hecker and Katrin Vohland

Citizen science is a transdisciplinary approach that responds to the current science policy agenda: in terms of supporting open science, and by using a range of science communication instruments. In particular, it opens up scientific research processes by involving citizens at different phases; this also creates a range of opportunities for science communication to happen This article explores methodological and practical characteristics of citizen science as a form of science communication by examining three case studies that took different approaches to citizens' participation in science. Through these, it becomes clear that communication in citizen science is ‘÷always’ science communication and an essential part of “doing science”.

Volume 20 • Issue 03 • 2021 • Special Issue: Re-examining Science Communication: models, perspectives, institutions, 2021

Nov 12, 2019 Article
Storytelling for narrative approaches in citizen science: towards a generalized model

by Anett Richter, Andrea Sieber, Julia Siebert, Victoria Miczajka-Rußmann, Jörg Zabel, David Ziegler, Susanne Hecker and Didone Frigerio

Storytelling essentials are stories that direct attention, trigger emotions, and prompt understanding. Citizen science has recently promoted the narrative approach of storytelling as a means of engagement of people of all ages and backgrounds in scientific research processes. We seek understanding about the typology of storytelling in citizen science projects and explore to what extent the tool of storytelling can be conceptualized in the approach of citizen science. In a first step, we investigated the use and integration of storytelling in citizen science projects in the three European German-speaking countries. We conducted a low threshold content analysis of 209 projects listed on the German-speaking online platforms for citizen science projects “Bürger schaffen Wissen”, “Österreich forscht”, and “Schweiz forscht”. Two expert workshops with citizen science practitioners were held to validate and discuss the identified role of stories in the practice of citizen science. Our analysis revealed three major categories mirroring how stories are being integrated and applied in citizen science. The first category refers to projects, in which stories are the core research objective. The second category is characterized by the application of stories in different phases of the research project. The third category encompasses stories as agents being part of the communication and organization of the project. We illustrate the practical application of these categories by three representative case studies. By combining the functionality of the categories and abstracting the linkages between storytelling and citizen science, we derived a generalized model accounting for those linkages. In conclusion, we suggest that storytelling should be a prerequisite to enhance the competencies of the actors involved and to exchange knowledge at the interfaces of science and policy as well as science and society.

Volume 18 • Issue 06 • 2019