Citizen science and open science: a complex relationship!

The majority of cases of citizen science studied are based, on the one hand, on the capacities and commitment of citizens and, on the other, on recognition by the scientist and researcher of the potential value of the knowledge that these citizens can produce or possess. We can identify two degrees of the commitment, mobilisation and impact of citizens. The first degree concerns the mobilisation and commitment of hundreds or thousands of data collectors. Professional researchers understand that these citizen communities permit the attainment of a critical mass of observations that would be impossible to achieve if the source were restricted to only scientists. The observations of butterflies, stars or fish are famous examples producing significant results. This first degree of commitment is not trivial. For most citizens, it will admittedly be a hobby, but a “serious” hobby involving a task of systematic and continuous observation and information processing and thus adherence to an epistemic scientific culture.

Read more

Towards flourishing Citizen Science

Citizen science, the active participation of non-professional scientists in academic research, is gaining momentum worldwide. Lay people work together with scientist to classify galaxies1, to explore the origins and diversity of languages2, keep tabs on flu outbreaks3 and determine conditions for health aging4. Citizen science not only quenches man's natural thirst for knowledge, but also helps advancing general scientific literacy and bridges the gap between an increasingly critical public and academic research. In this way, it reflects science's overall change towards more openness, transparency and societal responsibility. Read more

Citizen Science und Sozialwissenschaften – so nahe, und doch so fern …

Paradoxerweise, oder gerade nicht, ist Citizen Sience (CS) bis heute in den Sozialwissenschaften weitgehend Fremdwort und Fremdkörper geblieben. Während in den Naturwissenschaften CS bei Erhebungen zur Tiervielfalt im urbanen Raum, zu Migration von Zugvögeln, zur Verbreitung von Krankheitserregern der Stechmücken oder meteorologischen Bestandsaufnahme erfolgreich zum Zuge kommt, lassen sich für die Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften leider nur wenige nennenswerte Pendants finden, man denke etwa an eine grossangelegte Studie zum Brauchtum in Deutschland in der Zwischenkriegszeit.

Read more