Citizen science for the environment, do you want to get involved?
Citizen science provides a way for any "ordinary person" to participate and contribute to sustainable development. Traditionally, it has been in the natural sciences and mass observation of the environment that citizens have been used as an asset. In addition to observation, citizens can also play a role – alongside trained researchers –, for instance, in developing research questions or disseminating research results.
Citizen science has an important role to play in climate action and in preserving biodiversity. For example, citizens can follow the movements of migratory birds or monitor the break-up of ice in lakes. They can observe the presence of bladder wrack – a measure of the Baltic Sea's well-being –, take photos of their plant observations for an online discussion or record measurements of air pollution clouds covering the stars. The crowds of citizens bring a volume and spatial scale to the observation, that researchers alone could not achieve. Observations can be submitted on smartphones on different online platforms, easily and from anywhere. Technological developments have therefore boosted citizen science and created new openings, such as gamification. For example, participants can play online games to "coach" the computer in pattern recognition.
Citizen science is a tool for democracy. Through projects, citizens can influence their local environment and be socially included even in parts of the world where possibilities for influence are otherwise limited. Research funders have also woken up to the importance of citizen science in their recommendations, see e.g. Horizon Europe.
Citizen science is about social interaction. Through the citizen participants, people and communities are reached. The impact also goes both ways: on the other hand, participants contribute to the research process and to science, and, on the other hand, the new research knowledge generated by the project is passed on to other citizens, i.e., where it is useful. The personal experiences of the research process also feed back into the communities of the participants and contributes to their confidence in science.
Would you be interested in a citizen science project? Choose your perspective below and find out more!
- Citizen science from a citizen and research perspective: Library guide
- Thinking about data management, personal data processing, research ethics etc. for a citizen science project? Data management is essential, and in CS projects, it covers also, for example, personal information about the citizen participants, and data collection process of the citizens with its ethical aspects. Welcome to the library's data management trainings!
- Would you like to see what kind of citizen science projects are going on around the world, or perhaps use a citizen science project as part of your teaching? SciStarter, the global hub for citizen science.
- Are you interested in the practicalities of a CS project? See Citizen Science Skilling for Library Staff, Researchers, and the Public (LIBER - European Association of Research Libraries)
- Would you like to learn about citizen science resources, tools and trainings on European level? See European Citizen Science Association and EU-Citizen.Science platform
- Or would you prefer to watch or listen to webinars on citizen science? See ECIU Network webinars
For more information, contact oa [at] tuni.fi
This week is international Open Access Week.