Citizen science

28/03/2022

Despite the societal relevance of energy research, there is a distinct lack of citizen science initiatives in the field. This paper reports the experience of a participatory and innovative strategy to develop a citizen science initiative for solar energy research. A number of stakeholders participated in the definition and implementation of the initiative, and tools such as surveys and a hackathon were employed. The process described aims to provide a blueprint for transforming the relationship between citizens and research into societal challenges. Here we describe the collaborative process and analyse the main opportunities, limitations and future perspectives.

28/03/2022

Young children are actors usually excluded from political decisions and also from many science communication projects. Participatory science communication models can help to connect their everyday life with both local policies and science-related content. Using visual methodologies for engagement, we aimed at understanding what preschool children prefer in the city landscape. Results show how young children envision a “better city” and how that construction might defy current scientific knowledge. It further illustrates how science communication can be used to co-produce new knowledge, contributing to the debate about people's needs and perceptions related to science-based options.

14/03/2022

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.

14/02/2022

Despite being a critical environmental problem, soil pollution is not usually considered as a relevant issue by the general public. This disinterest derives from traditional procedures to assess soil pollution that are quite complex and costly, not considering any form of citizen involvement. Seeking to challenge this situation, the project “Nuestros Suelos” (Our Soil) aimed at designing and testing a low-cost participative soil pollution assessment toolkit. The final prototype included several participative modules, going from an assessment of the history of local soils to measuring heavy metals such as Arsenic and Copper. Tested with low-income communities in northern Chile, the toolkit was able not only to produce multiple kinds of data but also a public that started to understand and care about the issue.

11/10/2021

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.

11/10/2021

WeObserve delivered the first European-wide Citizen Observatory (CO) knowledge platform to share best practices, to address challenges and to inform practitioners, policy makers and funders of COs. We present key insights from WeObserve activities into leveraging challenges to create interlinked solutions, connecting with international frameworks and groups, advancing the field through communities of practice and practitioner networks, and fostering an enabling environment for COs. We also discuss how the new Horizon Europe funding programme can help to further advance the CO concept, and vice versa, how COs can provide a suitable mechanism to support the ambitions of Horizon Europe.

11/10/2021

Positioning citizen science within the broader historical public engagement framework demonstrates how it has the potential to effectively tackle research and innovation issues. Citizen science approaches have their own challenges, which need to be considered in order to achieve this aim and contribute to wider and deeper public engagement. However, programme evaluations, which discuss lessons learned in engaging the public and other stakeholders with science are rare. To address this gap, we present the H2020-funded DITOs project and discuss the use of logic models in citizen science. We share the project’s assumptions, design considerations for deeper engagement and its impact pathways demonstrating how logic models can be utilised in citizen science to monitor programme effectiveness and for their successful implementation. We hope that this work will inspire citizen science practitioners to use similar tools and by doing so, share their experiences and potential barriers. This knowledge is essential for improving the way citizen science is currently practiced and its impacts to both science and society.

11/10/2021

Citizen science involves laymen in some steps of a scientific experiment: citizens are volunteers devoting their free time to citizen science projects. Therefore it is important to investigate the factors influencing their motivation and engagement. In this paper, we present our study to investigate the motivation factors of the TESS photometer network participants, an initiative to collect light pollution data. We present the results and insight of our investigation and the instrument we adopted, which can be useful for the broad citizen science community.

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.

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