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Jun 22, 2016 Conference Review
15th Annual STS Conference Graz 2016

by Erik Stengler

Celebrating 15 years of success and growth, the STS Conference Graz on May 9 and 10, 2016, gathered nearly 200 delegates from all over the world who had the opportunity to discuss and share research and experiences on 6 main themes: Policy and Technology; Gender and Queer STS; Mobility, Energy and Sustainability; Responsible Research and Innovation Studies; Nutrition, Health and Biomedicine; and Information and Communication Technologies, Surveillance and Society.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016

Jun 09, 2016 Article
Democratizing science in the eighteenth century: resonances between Condorcet's Sketch (1795) and twenty-first century science communication

by Lindy A. Orthia

The twenty-first century has witnessed a shift in science communication ideals from one-way science popularization activities towards more reflexive, participatory approaches to public engagement with science. Yet our longue duéee histories of science communication's antecedents focus on the former and have neglected the latter. In this paper I identify parallels between modern science communication ideals and an iconic Enlightenment text, Condorcet's Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (1795). I show that Condorcet's carefully negotiated balance between scientific reason and radical principles of democracy has much in common with twenty-first century debates about science communication.

Volume 15 • Issue 04 • 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Article
Aligning community-based water monitoring program designs with goals for enhanced environmental management

by Amy Buckland-Nicks, Heather Castleden and Cathy Conrad

Community-based water monitoring (CBWM) provides essential baseline information on watershed health and engages the public in science, but those involved often encounter barriers to informing environmental management. We conducted qualitative interviews with watershed group coordinators and government counterparts from four CBWM organizations to explore instances where CBWM successfully influenced governmental decision-making. Our findings show that the level of rigor for quality standards, inclusion of volunteers, available resources, and desired goals are important considerations when designing community-based monitoring programs. Integrated program designs that include adequate quality standards and engage volunteers are more apt to maximize resources and realize both scientific and educational goals.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Apr 20, 2016 Editorial
From planning to motivations: citizen science comes to life

by Emma Weitkamp

This issue forms Part II of JCOM's collection of articles and essays exploring the field of citizen science. Here I introduce the articles in Part II, outlining how they contribute to our understanding of the ways that volunteers participate in citizen science projects, what motivates this participation and what learning arises as a result of participation.

Volume 15 • Issue 03 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part II, 2016

Mar 17, 2016 Essay
Supporting emerging forms of citizen science: a plea for diversity, creativity and social innovation

by Teresa Schäfer and Barbara Kieslinger

In recent years, citizen science has gained popularity not only in the scientific community but also with the general public. The potential it projects in fostering an open and participatory approach to science, decreasing the distance between science and society, and contributing to the wider goal of an inclusive society is being explored by scientists, science communicators, educators, policy makers and related stakeholders. The public's participation in citizen science projects is still often reduced to data gathering and data manipulation such as classification of data. However, the citizen science landscape is much broader and diverse, inter alia due to the participation opportunities offered by latest ICT. The emergence of new forms of collaboration and grassroots initiatives is currently being experienced. In an open consultation process that led to the "White Paper on Citizen Science for Europe", the support of a wide range of project types and innovative forms of participation in science was requested. In this paper we argue for mechanisms that encourage a variety of approaches, promote emerging and creative concepts and widen the perspectives for social innovation.

Volume 15 • Issue 02 • 2016

Jan 21, 2016 Editorial
Can we understand citizen science?

by Bruce Lewenstein

Citizen science is one of the most dramatic developments in science communication in the last generation. But analyses of citizen science, of what it means for science and especially for science communication, have just begun to appear. Articles in this first of two special issues of JCOM address three intertwined concerns in this emerging field: The motivation of citizen science participants, the relationship of citizen science with education, and the implications of participation for creation of democratic engagement in science-linked issues. Ultimately these articles contribute to answering the core question: What does citizen science mean?

Volume 15 • Issue 01 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part I, 2016

Jan 21, 2016 Article
The "Problem of Extension" revisited: new modes of digital participation in science

by Sascha Dickel and Martina Franzen

Citizen Science is part of a broader reconfiguration of the relationship between science and the public in the digital age: Knowledge production and the reception of scientific knowledge are becoming increasingly socially inclusive. We argue that the digital revolution brings the "problem of extension" — identified by Collins and Evans in the context of science and technology governance — now closer to the core of scientific practice. In order to grasp the implications of the inclusion of non-experts in science, the aim of this contribution is to define a role-set of non-certified knowledge production and reception, serving as a heuristic instrument for empirical clarifications.

Volume 15 • Issue 01 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part I, 2016

Sep 29, 2015 Commentary
Beyond the dissemination of Earth Observation research: stakeholders’ and users’ involvement in project co-design

by Alba L'Astorina, Irene Tomasoni, Anna Basoni and Paola Carrara

Modern technology and innovation research needs to analyse and collect users’ requirements from the outset of the project’s design, according to the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) approach. Bringing in new services without involving end-users in the whole research process does not make for optimal results in terms of scientific, technological and economic impact. This commentary reports on research experience of stakeholder involvement and co-production in Italy, implemented in Earth Observation downstream services at regional level. It reports the participative approach and method adopted and the impacts and benefits derived.

Volume 14 • Issue 03 • 2015

Sep 29, 2015 Commentary
Reflections on the impact of (playful) deliberation processes in contexts of responsible research and innovation

by Marjoleine G. van der Meij

This commentary shares a personal ‘learning curve’ of a science communication researcher about the impact of (playful) tools and processes for inclusive deliberation on emerging techno-scientific topics in the contemporary era of two-way science and technology communication practices; needed and desired in responsible research and innovation (RRI) contexts. From macro-level impacts that these processes are supposed to have on research and innovation practices and society, as encouraged by the RRI community, the author discovers more about ‘micro-level’ impacts; through conversations with peers of her department Athena (VU University, Amsterdam), as well as through experiencing the SiP 2015 conference in Bristol. Based on that, she defines several ‘impact-spheres’: a modular set of flexibly defined micro-level impacts that events in RRI contexts can have on both academic and non-academic participants, with respect and relationship development as focal assets to aim for; individual (micro-)changes that potentially build up towards an ‘RRI world’.

Volume 14 • Issue 03 • 2015

Mar 03, 2015 Article
Connecting opinion, belief and value: semantic network analysis of a UK public survey on embryonic stem cell research

by Leo Kim and Namhyeok Kim

This study re-examines the survey responses of embryonic stem cell research prepared for UK Department of Health (DH) in 2006. Aided by the novel method of semantic network analysis, the main purpose of the reanalysis is to “re-present” the overlooked layer of public opinion with respect to embryonic stem cell research, and to reflect on the under-represented public opinion. This critical review attempts to shed light on potential concerns of the UK public in the face of emerging life science policy. The article argues that a new way to encourage people’s articulation and engagement in science policy should be discussed. This means more active incorporation of concepts that represent people’s opinion, belief and value in research. By applying semantic network analysis, we introduce an effective way to visualize and evaluate people’s core frame of embryonic stem cell research.

Volume 14 • Issue 01 • 2015