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Nov 24, 2020 Commentary
Socioenvironmental activism and emerging science communicators in Mexico

by Susana Herrera-Lima

Activists, social organizations and members of citizen collectives in Mexico and Latin America have assumed not only the fight for water and territory, but also the difficult task of interacting with experts in different scientific fields, and the challenge of placing their causes in the public space. They take the role of cultural mediators between affected people, scientists and politicians within hybrid transdisciplinary working groups. Within the framework of these groups' actions, a new current of communication of science has emerged, one that shifts its interest from encouraging involvement with scientific knowledge for its own sake, to untangling, understanding and communicating socio-environmental issues for the explicit purpose of contributing to social transformation.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020

Nov 04, 2020 Article
Engagement styles in an environmental citizen science project

by Yaela Golumbic, Ayelet Baram-Tsabari and Barak Fishbain

This paper identifies the diverse ways in which participants engage with science, through the same citizen science project. Using multiple data sources, we describe various activities conducted by citizen scientists in an air quality project, and characterize the motivations driving their engagement. Findings reveal several themes, indicative of participants motivations and engagement; worried residents, education and outreach, environmental action, personal interest and opportunistic engagement. The study further illustrates the interconnectivity between science communication and citizen science practices and calls for nurturing this relationship for the mutual advancement of both fields.

Volume 19 • Issue 06 • 2020

Sep 21, 2020 Article
Addressing diversity in science communication through citizen social science

by Lissette Lorenz

This article seeks to address the lack of sociocultural diversity in the field of science communication by broadening conceptions of citizen science to include citizen social science. Developing citizen social science as a concept and set of practices can increase the diversity of publics who engage in science communication endeavors if citizen social science explicitly aims at addressing social justice issues. First, I situate citizen social science within the histories of citizen science and participatory action research to demonstrate how the three approaches are compatible. Next, I outline the tenets of citizen social science as they are informed by citizen science and participatory action research goals. I then use these tenets as criteria to evaluate the extent to which my case study, a community-based research project called ‘Rustbelt Theater’, counts as a citizen social science project.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Sep 01, 2020 Commentary
From actors to space, through processes: reflections from co-production and commoning

by Paola Alfaro - d'Alençon and Horacio Torrent

Under new state-led governance models, a new generation of city entrepreneurs seeks to define work and living environments to meet their needs and aspirations in a collaborative way. In this field, international discourses are debating private investors as key players in urban development and the simultaneous withdrawal/absence of the state. This has led to more complex networks of participating actors and conflictive urban development patterns. Strategies are needed to understand the influence of commons-based space production. From the research project DFG-KOPRO-Int, the Authors aim to define learnings from urban development and housing projects, involved actors, processes and material quality of the projects.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

Jul 20, 2020 Review Article
Citizen Science, K-12 science education and use of technology: a synthesis of empirical research

by Olia Tsivitanidou and Andri Ioannou

In this review, we examined the types of CS projects found in K-12 science education facilitated by digital technologies, the learning outcomes from students' participation in these projects, and the type of digital technologies used. With the application of the study's selection criteria, 15 eligible publications were included in the review; these were indexed in three databases as well as in Google Scholar. Despite the rising popularity of CS projects, the present review revealed that there is little empirical evidence for the effects of technology-facilitated CS projects on learning outcomes when K-12 students are involved. Yet, the review demonstrates a promising research area in science education and technology-enhanced learning.

Volume 19 • Issue 04 • 2020

May 18, 2020 Article
Organizationally based citizen science: considerations for implementation

by Ashley A. Anderson, Elizabeth Williams, Marilee Long, Ellison Carter and John Volckens

This theoretical paper proposes a framework for how citizen science can be adapted to organizational contexts. Using an “input, process, output” approach, this model proposes organizational factors (e.g., communication channels and styles, and organizational structure) that should be considered when choosing among citizen science approaches (e.g., contributory, collaborative, co-created). The essay identifies possible outcomes for the individual, organization, and larger sector from employing a citizen science approach within an organizational setting.

Volume 19 • Issue 03 • 2020

Dec 16, 2019 Article
Invisible brokers: “citizen science” on Twitter

by Elise Tancoigne

Who speaks for “citizen science” on Twitter? Which territory of citizen science have they made visible so far? This paper offers the first description of the community of users who dedicate their online social media identity to citizen science. It shows that Twitter users who identify with the term “citizen science” are mostly U.S. science professionals in environmental sciences, and rarely projects' participants. In contrast to the original concept of “citizen science”, defined as a direct relationship between scientists and lay participants, this paper makes visible a third category of individual actors, mostly women, who connect these lay participants and scientists: the “citizen science broker”.

Volume 18 • Issue 06 • 2019

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

Jan 17, 2019 Editorial
User experience of digital technologies in citizen science

by Artemis Skarlatidou, Marisa Ponti, James Sprinks, Christian Nold, Mordechai Haklay and Eiman Kanjo

The growing interest in citizen science has resulted in a new range of digital tools that facilitate the interaction and communications between citizens and scientists. Considering the ever increasing number of applications that currently exist, it is surprising how little we know about how volunteers interact with these technologies, what they expect from them, and why these technologies succeed or fail. Aiming to address this gap, JCOM organized this special issue on the role of User Experience (UX) of digital technologies in citizen science which is the first to focus on the qualities and impacts of interface and user design within citizen science. Seven papers are included that highlight three key aspects of user-focused research and methodological approaches. In the first category, "design standards", the authors explore the applicability of existing standards, build and evaluate a set of guidelines to improve interactions with citizen science applications. In the second, "design methods", methodological approaches for getting user feedback, analysing user behaviour and exploring different interface designs modes are explored. Finally, "user experience in the physical and digital world" explores crossovers with other fields to improve our understanding of user experiences and demonstrate how design choices not only influence digital interactions but also shape interactions with the wider world.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
From citizen science to citizen action: analysing the potential for a digital platform to cultivate attachments to nature

by Nirwan Sharma, Sam Greaves, Advaith Siddharthan, Helen Anderson, Annie Robinson, Laura Colucci-Gray, Agung T. Wibowo, Helen Bostock, Andrew Salisbury, Stuart Roberts, David Slawson and Rene van der Wal

Identifying private gardens in the U.K. as key sites of environmental engagement, we look at how a longer-term online citizen science programme facilitated the development of new and personal attachments of nature. These were visible through new or renewed interest in wildlife-friendly gardening practices and attitudinal shifts in a large proportion of its participants. Qualitative and quantitative data, collected via interviews, focus groups, surveys and logging of user behaviours, revealed that cultivating a fascination with species identification was key to both ‘helping nature’ and wider learning, with the programme creating a space where scientific and non-scientific knowledge could co-exist and reinforce one another.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019