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new publication: what is citizen science

25. Aug. 2021

Contours of citizen science: a vignette study

Together with many citizen science experts Barbara Kieslinger and Teresa Schäfer from ZSI co-published a paper that idenfies areas of agreement and disagreement within the citizen science practitioners community on what should be considered as citizen science activity. 

Abstract

Citizen science has expanded rapidly over the past decades. Yet, defining citizen science and its boundaries remained a challenge, and this is reflected in the literature—for example in the proliferation of typologies and definitions. There is a need for identifying areas of agreement and disagreement within the citizen science practitioners community on what should be considered as citizen science activity. This paper describes the development and results of a survey that examined this issue, through the use of vignettes—short case descriptions that describe an activity, while asking the respondents to rate the activity on a scale from ‘not citizen science’ (0%) to ‘citizen science’ (100%). The survey included 50 vignettes, of which five were developed as clear cases of not-citizen science activities, five as widely accepted citizen science activities and the others addressing 10 factors and 61 sub-factors that can lead to controversy about an activity. The survey has attracted 333 respondents, who provided over 5100 ratings. The analysis demonstrates the plurality of understanding of what citizen science is and calls for an open understanding of what activities are included in the field.

Full paper version available here:
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsos.202108 

Haklay M., Fraisl D., Greshake Tzovaras B., Hecker S., Gold M., Hager G., Ceccaroni L., Kieslinger B., Wehn Uta, Woods S., Nold C., Balázs B., Mazzonetto M., Ruefenacht., Shanley L. A., Wagenknecht K., Motion A., Sforzi A., Riemenschneider D., Dorler D., Heigl F., Schaefer T., Lindner A., Weißpflug M., Mačiulienė M. and Vohland K. (2021). Contours of citizen science: a vignette study. R. Soc. open sci.8:202108 https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.202108

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