First International ECSA Conference 2016
Citizen Science –
Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy
19–21 May 2016 | Berlin
Does citizen science really contribute to nature conservation?
Sharing evidence and best practice.
Lucy Robinson and John Tweddle, The Natural History Museum London, UK
A recent paper by Ballard et al entitled ‘Contributions to conservation outcomes of natural history museum-led citizen science: Examining evidence and next steps’ (Biological Conservation; In Review) examined 43 citizen science projects for evidence of contribution to conservation outcomes. Conservation outcomes were defined in accordance with the Cambridge Conservation Forum’s framework described in Kapos et al. (2008) which includes seven categories that directly or indirectly lead to targeted improvements in the status of species, ecosystems or landscapes. The seven categories are: Species Management, and Site Management (Direct outcomes), and Research, Education, Policy, Livelihood, and Capacity Building Activities (Indirect outcomes). This symposium will firstly introduce the above framework, then showcase citizen science projects from across Europe and beyond that have achieved clear outcomes for the conservation of the natural environment, in particular exploring the factors that led to these successful conservation outcomes. A facilitated discussion will then follow, fully involving the audience in scoping how we as a practitioner community can best plan, design and execute citizen science programmes to achieve conservation impacts, and how such impacts can be effectively measured, monitored and replicated across Europe.
Science Tools, technologies and applications in Citizen Science
Jose Miguel Rubio Iglesias, European commission; Jaume Piera, CSIC-ICM; Suvodeep Mazumdar, University of Sheffield; Max Craglia, European Commission – Joint Research Centre; Arne J. Berre, SINTEF
Changes in the ICT landscape over the recent years such as the pervasive Internet, low cost sensors and mobile communication have had a big impact on how Citizen Science is carried out nowadays, facilitating the access and sharing of data and information and increasing enormously the potential for participation en massein these activities. This session aims at presenting novel technologies, platforms,sensor toolkits andDIY (Do It Yourself) devicesand web and mobile applications that are aimed at engaging citizens and communities in Citizen Science projects. The session intends to showcasethe state-of-the-art in this domain from the user perspective and help initiate a discussion among all players involved in the development, share experiencesand highlight common issues such as design and usability, interoperability and longer-term sustainability of these technologies. In order to have a more interactive session, speakers will be invited to carry out short live demos of their applications. A short summary report with all the information about the applications and technologies presented at the session will be delivered after the conference, which will help disseminate further these developments.
Worldwide citizen science initiatives on light pollution
Franz Hölker, Sibylle Schroer – Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Germany
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is increasing worldwide by about 3-6% a year without regard to its potential impacts on humans and the environment. The increasing brightening of the nightscape is probably the most evident sign of anthropogenic impact worldwide. The multiple effects of increasing ALAN worldwide require transdisciplinary and supra-regional research approaches. CS can involve people with multiple expertises simultaneously at various sites worldwide. Furthermore, CS research increases public awareness and outreach. In this session we will present CS at different stages focussing on ALAN. The broad range of methods will be demonstrated based on CS practice within two projects and the initiation of a recently started CS and awareness EU-project:
1. The “Loss of the Night” -app involves observations of sky brightness by determining the number of visible stars in the night sky. Over 10.000 observations from over 100 countries were
contributed from users, which benefit from knowledge of stars. The platform “myskyatnight.com” gives the data and tools back into the hands of the public.
2. “Tatort Gewässer” asks German citizens to measure the CO2-concentrations and microbial diversity at their closest water body, and analyses the artificial light conditions. More than 600
participants contributed so far, which allows mapping sediment metabolism and biodiversity pattern in aquatic systems under different levels of artificial light at night.
3. The EU-project STARS4ALL project will establish a network for involving citizens to collect data on the worldwide changing nightscape. Light pollution initiatives will be developed, especially
in cross-disciplines such as Energy Saving, Biodiversity, and Human Health and will organize open competitions among them. The project aims several initiatives which will be the basis for an open self-sustainable platform to host any other future initiatives.
In form of a world café we will discuss the CS practice, strategic planning of CS with the aim for effective advocacy. Split sessions will be organized, according to the subject-specific background of the participants, in order to discuss:
a. The potential and limits of CS for research and outreach
b. The network skills needed to create selfsustainable platforms
c. The challenges for communication between scientific disciplines and citizens
d. Access of data for stakeholders, i.e. industry and policy makers
Embedding Citizen Science Into Schools
John Harlin, Director of the Alpine Institute at the Leysin American School. Leysin, Switzerland
This session will demonstrate how Citizen Science can be successfully embedded into the school curriculum. Young people spend most of their lives in school, often feeling disengaged as they struggle to find “relevance” in their studies. This is particularly true for the sciences, where concepts often appear remote from a young person’s life and data collected by students often ends up in the trash can at the end of the semester. Citizen science supplies a sense of meaning to science education by attaching a genuine purpose. Collected data contributes to the body of knowledge. By having actual value, CS imparts a sense of value to learning. In theory, the world’s millions of active students can be prime citizen scientists. What they lack in experience, they make up for in numbers. They even have built-in moderators for quality control: their teachers. In the classroom, teachers often struggle to find a balance between strict curriculum requirements and the desire to find new and interesting ways to engage and motivate students. Finding an intriguing citizen science program active in the school's region and incorporating it into the existing curriculum often seems like a monumental task. So the challenge becomes making citizen science accessible to teachers who wish to engage their students by adding meaning and value to their science curriculum. This challenge deserves to be answered. Potential themes include:
● Case studies of successful examples where CS has been embedded in the school curriculum.
● Demonstrations of improved learning outcomes based on increased student engagement.
● Developing online centralized support materials that connect teachers to CS programs in their area.
● Building CS into International Baccalaureate, Waldorf, Montessori, and national curricula and teaching methods.
● Creating support networks for teachers looking to bring CS into the classroom.
● Funding streams for CS in education.
● Technology for CS in education.
Scientific impacts and innovations of citizen science
Jennifer Shirk, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Lucy Robinson, Natural History Museum London
Citizen science continues to push boundaries and advance innovation and discovery across scientific disciplines. Whilst many citizen science projects focus on the environmental sciences, there are an increasing number of examples of citizen science approaches being applied in other research disciplines, within and beyond the sciences. Scientific findings are most appropriately discussed at the relevant disciplinary conferences; here, we showcase some of the most innovative advances, novel approaches, and implementations of citizen science in new disciplinary contexts. In this session, we invite research scientists from a broad range of disciplines to share their experiences of using a citizen science approach in their work, in particular reflecting on the scientific impacts and outcomes, and the significance of citizen science as a distinct means of research.
Citizen engagement and collective intelligence for participatory Digital Social Innovation: Opportunities and challenges for Citizen Science in solving everyday sustainability challenges
Jasminko Novak European Institute for Participatory Media e. V., Berlin, Germany
As the citizen science movement matures and social technologies are used by billions of users in daily life, new frontiers are explored. Large groups of citizens can engage in research projects not only as data collectors or annotators but as knowledge brokers and co-designers in the problem analysis and solution development. This is intensely explored in experiments involving citizens in solving everyday societal challenges: Open Social Innovation. Pioneering EU-funding programs such as the Collective Awareness Platforms for Social Innovation and Sustainability (CAPS) place a strong emphasis on bottomup research that systematically engages citizens in cocreation activities. Such Digital Social Innovations explore new models of collective intelligence where researchers, social innovators and citizens collaborate in co-creating knowledge and solutions for societal challenges. The key question here is how to successfully involve citizens as co-designers and co-researchers? How to stimulate and sustain citizen engagement over time? How to design such participatory science and innovation processes in a practical and methodologically sound way? As societal challenges address inter-connected domains (e.g. environment, mobility, health) such projects are often trans-disciplinary. They combine methods from different disciplines (e.g. engineering, social and natural sciences) with smart technologies (e.g. collective sensing, mobile computing, smart cities) and knowledge cocreation, open data and collective intelligence. This raises the question of how to effectively relate knowledge from different disciplines and constituencies (e.g. scientists, policy makers, citizens). A related challenge is how to gather and measure the insights and results of these processes from different actors (e.g. crowdsourced social impact assessment). We invite position papers on experiences and lessons learned in engaging citizens as “Citizen Science Co- Designers” in projects addressing societal challenges (e.g. environmental monitoring, sustainable mobility, traffic management, urban planning, public health, smart cities). Contributions are encouraged from a variety of actors: researchers, social innovators, policy makers and citizen scientists! Session format: The accepted position papers will be presented in form of short talks that will set the stage for an interactive discussion with the speaker panel and the audience. Beside key lessons learned from their work each presenter should present one specific challenge to be subsequently addressed in a hands-on design thinking session. The audience will vote on the most interesting challenges, which will then be addressed in break-out groups applying the design thinking methodology. The results will be presented in a concluding plenary session.
Citizen Science Studies. Engaging with the participatory turn in the co-production of science and society
Dana Mahr, University of Geneva; Anett Richter, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ; Claudia Göbel, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Co-chairs: Alan Irwin, Copenhagen Business School; Katrin Vohland, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin; Lisa Pettibone, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin; Sascha Friesike, Alexander von Humboldt University, Institute for Internet and Society Berlin
Citizen Science (CS) reshapes pre-existing hopes for a democratization of knowledge, empowerment and a decentralization of power in science. Also professional scientists, scientific institutions and policy makers are beginning to engage with CS in terms of their own goals - which may differ from those of the citizen scientists. In this situation, it becomes important to reflect about CS.
Recognizing this challenge, at least three groups of stakeholders are beginning to analyze the phenomenon of CS: ‘cs-practitioners’ themselves, ‘practitioner-reflectors’, who practice CS but are also engaged with its funding, promotion etc., and most recently also those who reflect the phenomenon from the perspective of the various academic fields which explore the shifting relationship between the sciences and society - we call them ‘academic-reflectors’.
The ‘cs-practitioners’ may ask questions about independency, authority or power-relations between ‘Amateurs’ and ‘Experts’ influencing their engagement with science. Also they could ask questions about the impact of their engagement. While ‘practitioner-reflectors’ may need to reflect on the phenomenon in order to help their community to gain success in structuring and enhancing CS. For example, they have to ask critically if specific funding strategies and specific quality-measurement strategies which may apply to institutionalized science automatically also apply to CS. In addition, it may be an objective for the ‘academic reflectors’ to think about the long term consequences of this ongoing participatory turn in the co-production of science and society and reflect it back to the two other groups. For example, historians begin to ask how CS fits into the broader history of public participation in science while sociologists and political scientists are concerned with the question how the phenomenon reshapes expertise and the demarcation of social spheres in democratic societies. Elsewhere, research is organized around the structure and functionality of CS, the motivation of citizens to get engage and participate in CS, the epistemologies of CS, the role of techno-scientific citizenship or the ethics of CS in personalized medicine. In short, what we can call a ‘science of the citizen sciences’ is taking shape.
This session will bring together a wide range of persons within this emerging field. Our aim is to enable reciprocal stimulation between emerging and established studies of the various areas of CS, approaches reflecting on CS and also concrete CS projects. Furthermore, the session shall be open for in-depth discussion of topics like the divergent typologies of CS, the role of citizenship in CS and the underlying value-patterns that enable or endanger CS. Another purpose of the session is to use the design of the ECSA conference to explore practical opportunities for future cooperation and the possibilities for a joint agenda-setting of the participating ‘cs-practitioners’, ‘practitioner reflectors’, and ‘academic reflectors’.
The relevance of this session is hence twofold:
(1) stimulating the research accompanying and critically reflecting upon CS and thus contributing to the development of a substantial research base regarding CS; and
(2) exploring ways for engaging with CS practice and practitioners in a more reflexive, open, and collaborative way.
All ‘cs-practitioners’, ‘practitioner-reflectors’ and ‘academic-reflectors’ who wish to establish a shared and reflexive perspective on CS are warmly invited to participate in the session. In addition, participants shall be willing to question their own position in dialogue with others. The idea is to come together in an informal workshop atmosphere and give short presentations of ongoing research or reflections along with ideas and questions for joint initiatives. We plan to complement those individual contributions with short replicas (about 3 minutes) by the Co-Chairs, which will be followed by a discussion to explore ideas for working together. We explicitly encourage the participation of early-career researchers and PhD students.
Citizens Science for environmental monitoring: Engagement and Empowerment in Citizens’ Observatories
Alena Bartonova (paper session)
NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research. Kjeller, Norway
Irene Eleta (moderator world café session)
ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL)
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP)
How can we engage citizens in the long-term and empower them to participate in environmental governance?
We aim at sharing novel strategies, toolkits and best practices for citizen engagement, to improve knowledge transfer and capacity building through the formation of local leaders to strengthen local-community networks. This session will showcase lessons learned and most prominent results from three ongoing EU FP7-funded Citizens’ Observatories projects. It will focus on citizens’ engagement, cooperation between scientists and citizens, expectation management and how the data and results are being integrated in decision-making, archived and made accessible for re-use and for motivating participation. Also, it will discuss key challenges ahead, including the consolidation and expansion of existing citizen science projects and the development of channels to inform policy decisions with the results of these projects.
The session combines three different topics, each led by one project representative:
1. Air quality, environmental quality of public spaces in cities and indoor air quality in schools (CITI-SENSE)
This theme introduces important sustainability aspects for urban outdoor and indoor air quality and the citizens’ engagement on this topic.
2. Water quality and flooding (WeSenseIt)
This theme will explore the role of citizens, communities and decision makers in actively collaborating in the management of water resources particularly during emergencies when critical decisions need to be made urgently.
3. Biological monitoring (COBWEB)
This theme will showcase examples biological data collection, use and re-use for environmental monitoring. There is significant value of citizens being able to make observations of flora, fauna and habitats using mobile devices.
The session will be split in two parts:
1. Paper session – short and engaging presentations on three main themes: air quality, water quality and biological monitoring. Each theme will have equally distributed time.
2. “Train the trainer” world café – we invite participants of this session to contribute their lessons and experiences for training leaders of citizen science projects in the following topics: engaging and retaining volunteers and stakeholders, engaging people in large numbers, field management, risk assessment, emergency response plans, monitoring activities, bioblitzes, DIY workshops, species surveys, volunteered geographic information management.
Data, metadata, quality and visualisation of citizen science data
Jamie Williams CSci Environment Systems; Suvodeep Mazumdar, University of Sheffield, UK; Arne J. Berre, SINTEF, Norway
One session is proposed to focus on "Tools, technologies and applications in Citizen Science" from the user perspective, - with a focus of acquisition of observation data through sensors and apps. This session will focus of the observations themselves and how they are stored, shared, processed and visualised. This session will thus discuss various elements of data, metadata, quality and visualisation of citizen science data. Is it possible and useful to have one common data model for a number of different types of observations within and across different citizens science areas such as air quality, water quality, flooding, biodiversity, etc. ? How is it best to share observation data through a common infrastructures such as GCI provided by GEOSS. Data collected by citizens may contain a number of uncertainties that need to be identified, studied and documented throughout all processing steps, and eventually be made available as metadata. These elements become essential parts of all versions of citizen science data from raw observations and interpretations to heavily processed analyses. One important contractor to such element of the metadata is the quality assessment. Often, concerns are raised of citizen science sourced data are that, while there are large volumes of data, their quality is unknown, making them of limited use. Linking quality assessment to citizen science metadata allows greater confidence to be associated with such observations and their subsequent reuse. Various metadata elements describing the processing and quality control etc. applied to the citizen science data also need to be addressed when visualising such data. To support all this, there is a need to develop data and visual standards to maximise interoperability between systems and increase the immediate usefulness and ultimately the end user confidence of citizen science data.
Exploring the opportunities and challenges: Citizen Science and Responsible Research and Innovation
Melanie Smallman, UCL, London
Responsible Research and Innovation is a key crosscutting theme of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme and emphasises the importance of the social relevance of research, the need to consider the ethical dimensions of research and to incorporate wider perspectives in science and innovation thinking. These are all areas where Citizen Science is playing – or has the potential to play - a key role. This session will explore the cross-over between Citizen Science and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) with the aim of learning best practice from one another and understanding more about how the respective agendas can support and complement each other. Using a combination of short presentations and workshop activities - drawn from the RRI Toolkit’s suite of training modules - the session will explore the issue of RRI and what it means for those involved with Citizen Science. In particular, we will consider what the opportunities and challenges are for Citizen Science within RRI, helping build a deeper understanding of the concept and the tools available to support practitioners and researchers interested in this area.
Communicating Citizen Science through storytelling
Monique Luckas, Haus der Zukunft, Berlin, Germany; Susanne Hecker, Helmholtz Centre
for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle – UFZ/iDiv, Germany
Citizen Science engages millions of people all over the world. They dedicate their free time looking at stars or birds from dusk till dawn, monitoring invasive plants or animals in remote places or even their living rooms, collecting litter at beaches, capturing and photographing mosquitoes in public parks or far-flung tarns, reporting hay fever symptoms or the first flourish of violets, transcribing hand-written labels of long forgotten museum items or measuring mood and brain power. Those dedicated people have various motivations for participating in citizen science and so do scientists who decide to work together with citizens in various ways during the research process. And no doubt: speaking with citizens and scientists shows more or less enthusiasm and special experiences related to this kind of collaboration. All of you – scientists and citizens – have a special story to tell. Some of success, some of unforeseen challenges and surprising findings. The media shows great interest in citizen science and its stories, including digital communication such as blogs, websites or other social media. We propose a session on citizen science communication through storytelling, an engaging way of telling your story for a deeper and lasting communication experience, to share your knowledge, to link ideas or to create a vision. Or simply to celebrate the success of your citizen science experience. The aims of this workshop are to make you aware of your storytelling potential, to bring your skills alive, and thereby create stories of citizen science and show the potential of this communication tool for citizens, scientists and the media. For our workshop, we invite storytellers and people who are willing to tell their stories as well as journalists who want to learn more about citizen science, the people involved, and their experiences.
Gaming for good: Exploring the potential and pitfalls of citizen science games
Anne E. Bowser, Commons Lab Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, United States; Anna L. Cox, University College London, UK; Marisa Ponti, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
The list of citizen science games that people can play while contributing to science is growing. Games, and gamified websites or applications, take a range of forms within citizen science. Some projects, like MalariaSpot, include just a few game elements such as points, badges, and leaderboards. Other projects, like Foldit and Eyewire, are full immersive experiences. Still others, such as Forgotten Island, are beginning to use narrative-based gamification approaches.
These methods are sometimes viewed as easy ways to attract entice large numbers of citizens to contribute their time and skills to solve hard-to-automate tasks such as protein folding or image recognition. However, the convergence between games and science may stir controversy, as the two can be seen as separate – and even incompatible - paradigms. On one side, some researchers emphasize the great potential and benefits of games with a purpose for harnessing human skills for data collection and/or other forms of research. But by pointing to questions around data quality and the ethical implications of participation, others argue that games and gamification are flawed mechanisms for involving participants in citizen science.
The aims of this 90-minute-split session are to:
During the workshop, participants will present their contributions. Afterwards, we will begin with a roundtable discussing the positive aspects of gamification and engagement, including the extent to which different game mechanics are effective at initiating and sustaining engagement.
During a second roundtable we will discuss the potential negative aspects of games and gamification, including the extent to which the critical set of research principles for solving a task, which are embedded in a game structure, can control data quality.
At the conclusion of the workshop, the organizers and participants will take ten minutes to craft a summary of the discussion, and outline next steps for advancing the use of games in citizen science.
Dr. Anne Bowser is a Senior Program Associate at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a think tank located in Washington, DC. At the Wilson Center, she codirects the Commons Lab, a research and policy analysis project that aims to support citizen science within US government agencies. She also supports the Center’s Serious Games Initiative. Anne’s dissertation explored the role of cooperative technology design in citizen science through a case study of Floracaching, a geocaching game for biodiversity data collection created for and with university communities.
Dr. Anna L Cox is Deputy Director at the UCL Interaction Centre [UCLIC] and Reader in Human-Computer Interaction. Anna leads the Social Computing Lab, a research group within UCLIC, that studies the use of digital systems that support online social connection and collaboration. Their current research focuses on crowdsourcing and human computation, persuasive technologies, computer-mediated communication, and digital games.
Dr. Marisa Ponti is Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Information Technology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her current research focuses on the use of technology to enhance new forms of scientific activities involving amateurs. She is also interested in developing approaches to involve the general public in collaborative knowledge co-creation. Her academic background is multidisciplinary and includes studies in sociology and information science.
Citizen science with small sensor networks complementing traditional insitu observations – gaps, advances and limitations. From activism to collaboration in environmental measurements
Jeroen Devilee, Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) Bilthoven, The Netherlands
Ian McCallum International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Laxenburg, Austria
Due to technological developments, citizen science with apps and small sensors has the potential to have a large impact on science and society. Owners of traditional environmental monitoring systems increasingly experience that citizens and societal actors can organize their own measurements. Where in the old days only expensive national measurements existed, nowadays these will be complemented by citizen science measurements by a growing number of stakeholders and citizens. By supporting this process, the owners of national measurements systems create tremendous possibilities to improve the quality and geographical exactness of national measurement systems.
Citizen scientists and researchers observe that many of the traditional measurements are costly, prone to government and research spending cuts and are poor or non-existent in some regions. Other necessary observations are simply not collected or are collected but lack the spatial and temporal resolution required to properly monitor the phenomenon. They see the raised awareness of citizen science (CS) as a means to address some of these important issues.
Consequently, those responsible for national environmental measurements systems, researchers and citizen scientists acknowledge that citizen science has the potential to generate new and previously unavailable information, or to complement existing measurements and at lower costs than traditional forms of in-situ measurement. However, a good overview of the contemporary possibilities and ambitions is lacking.
In the session proposed we will list CS efforts with small and cheap sensor networks that complement other forms of measurement, a description of which measurements are complementary, potential cost savings, quality assurance and known limitations. Moreover, we are very much interested in the organization of the process: cooperation in the calibration of sensors, ways to integrate CS data with official data, the design of a robust long running data collection process with societal partners, and the way that: 1) citizen learning will be enabled and; 2) citizen motivation for engagement will be optimized. This effort should lead to a peer-reviewed publication on the topic as it is of high relevance to CS in general.
Science Capital, Science Identity and Learning Through Citizen Science
Richard Edwards, School of Education, University of Stirling, UK Katherine Mathieson, British
Science Association, UK (ECSA Individual Member) Rick Bonney, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, USA Tina Phillips, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, USA
There is a long standing but increasing interest in the educational potential of citizen science projects. This is both in providing educational opportunities to support the contribution of participants to such work and in relation to the wider learning and civic or policy outcomes of such participation. Frameworks through which to identify and develop science learning outcomes have been developed, as have some instruments through which to measure and evaluate them. Less attention to date has been focussed on researching the learning processes that take place, which could help inform project design. The result is a better understanding of what participants learn through citizen science and a relative lack of knowledge about how they learn. In some areas, the latter is being addressed through emerging research drawing on the concepts of science identity and science capital. Examining learning in citizen science through these lenses can inform the ways in which people come to participate in citizen science and how they interact and learn from such participation. Additionally, the dimensions of science capital (as described by Archer et al. 2015) can provide a framework for considering ways of designing citizen science projects that seek to broaden and retain the base of participation. Consequently, there is a growth internationally in research and practice focussed on learning through citizen science, science capital and science identity, which we wish to focus on within this split session. Using a combination of paper presentations and workshop activities, the session will seek to explore existing work in this area and identify possibilities for future research and practice on how learning can be enhanced through citizen science in beneficial ways.