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Jan 21, 2016 Article
Motivation and learning impact of Dutch flu-trackers

by Anne M. Land-Zandstra, Mara van Beusekom, Carl Koppeschaar and Jos van den Broek

Many citizen science projects deal with high attrition rates. The Dutch Great Influenza Survey is an exception to this rule. In the current study, we conducted an online questionnaire (N=1610) to investigate the motivation and learning impact of this loyal, active participant base. Results show that the desire to contribute to a larger (scientific) goal is the most important motivator for all types of participants and that availability of scientific information and data are important for learning. We suggest similar projects seek (social) media attention regularly, linking project findings to current events and including the importance of participants' contribution.

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

Jan 21, 2016 Article
School of Ants goes to college: integrating citizen science into the general education classroom increases engagement with science

by Tyler Vitone, Kathryn Stofer, M. Sedonia Steininger, Jiri Hulcr, Robert Dunn and Andrea Lucky

Citizen science has proven useful in advancing scientific research, but participant learning outcomes are not often assessed. This case study describes the implementation and tailoring of an in-depth assessment of the educational impact of two citizen science projects in an undergraduate, general education course. Mixed-methods assessment of citizen science within a college classroom demonstrates that public participation in scientific research can positively alter attitudes towards science. The timing and type of assessments yielded significantly different results and qualitative assessment provided depth and context. However, disentangling the impact of the course from participation in the projects is the biggest challenge.

Volume 15 • Issue 01 • 2016 • Special Issue: Citizen Science, Part I, 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 Essay
The Swedish mass experiments — a way of encouraging scientific citizenship?

by Dick Kasperowski and Fredrik Brounéus

Since 2009 Vetenskap & Allmänhet (Public & Science, VA) coordinates an annual mass experiment as part of ForskarFredag — the Swedish events on the European Researchers' Night. Through the experiments, thousands of Swedish students from preschool to upper secondary school have contributed to the development of scientific knowledge on, for example, the acoustic environment in classrooms, children's and adolescents' perception of hazardous environments and the development of autumn leaves in deciduous trees. The aim is to stimulate scientific literacy and an interest in science while generating scientific output. The essay discusses how the mass experiments can contribute to encouraging scientific citizenship.

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