CfP: Citizen Social Science: Active Citizenship Versus Data Commodification

Bereich: Forschungspolitik & Entwicklung


Editors: Josep Perelló (OpenSystems Research Group, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain), Katja Mayer (Centre for Social Innovation Vienna, Austria), Martina Franzen (WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Research Group Science Policy Studies, Germany), Valeria Arza (National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Research Center for Transformation, CENIT, Argentina), Alexandra Albert (The University of Manchester & Lancaster University, UK).

There is a boom in initiatives calling for citizen involvement in research under the recent label of Citizen Science. Citizen Science is on the one hand a new instrument to integrate citizens into scientific knowledge production with the help of digital infrastructures. On the other hand, there is a Citizen Science movement aimed at democratizing science. While numerous Citizen Science projects have been installed in various disciplines in recent years, some of them with great success, the social sciences are lagging behind. Within what has been termed as Citizen Social Science, the aim of this article collection is therefore not only to explore the possibilities for Citizen Science in the social sciences, but also to subject the Citizen Science phenomenon to a social science analysis.

Digital technologies are increasingly facilitating the collective generation of data, particularly in terms of the mushrooming of crowd-sourced data initiatives in a variety of fields across the sciences, politics, and industry. Citizen Science has been mostly promoted as a method to increase the scale and efficiency of data collection in a widespread variety of disciplines; in scientific research, particularly in environmental science, astronomy, biology, and in the social sciences, particularly in political science, market research, sociology of social movements and urban planning. However, most initiatives working with citizen scientists include them only in certain steps of the research process, rather than more systematically and from the outset. In many projects, participants are assigned a passive role by design; they are mainly confined to data gathering, and are typically excluded from research design, analysis, and interpretation. Despite the vast potential of active citizenship for Citizen Social Science: active citizenship vs. data commodification evidence based "good governance", participants are frequently restricted to act as mere sensors, or data producers, rather than data owners or advocates in their own right. Moreover, it is widely debated how sustainable the involvement of citizens via digital platforms can be, particularly in terms of renewing or maintaining citizen enthusiasm and motivation to participate.

The aim of this collection is twofold: to explore the drivers and barriers to the systemic participation of citizens in all research phases to produce socially robust knowledge outcomes; and to open up the debate on the possibilities of blending, overlapping or confronting the different participatory methodologies already present in the field of social sciences, and the current approaches in citizen science projects.

We invite contributions on the following themes:

  • What can be understood as Citizen Social Science?
  • How can the Citizen Science phenomenon be interpreted from a social science perspective?
  • How should participatory research be transformed to allow for active citizenship?
  • How can citizens become more directly involved in all phases of the research process?
  • What strategies could be developed to facilitate the use of citizen-generated-data to benefit those who have contributed to its production?
  • What ownership do citizens have over the data they have produced?
  • How could the social impact of producing and using citizen-generated data be enhanced?
  • How to implement good standards in Citizen Science initiatives in relation to the social sciences?
  • What risks and challenges are involved in Citizen Social Science?
  • How can ethical risks regarding the (mis)use of data be avoided?
  • How can crowd-sourced data initiatives, particularly in science, become sustainable in social terms?
  • What type of societal problems could be better dealt with using Citizen Social Science and why?
  • How could Citizen Social Science outperform and/or be combined with traditional participatory approaches in the social sciences?

This is a rolling article collection and as such submissions will be welcomed at any point up until the end of September 2019. To register interest prospective authors should submit a short article proposal (abstract summary) to the Editorial Office in the first instance.

AutorInnen: Mayer, K.

Tags: citizen science, open data, open science

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Kategorie: Zeitschriften

Publikations Datum: 2019

Bezug: Online (download)