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Citizen Science : Theory and Practice
Number of Followers: 3  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2057-4991
Published by Ubiquity Press Limited Homepage  [40 journals]
  • Challenges, Strategies, and Impacts of Doing Citizen Science with
           Marginalised and Indigenous Communities: Reflections from Project

    • Abstract: Citizen science is growing and increasingly realizing its potential in terms of benefiting science and society. However, there are significant barriers to engaging participants in non-Western, non-educated, non-industrialised, non-rich and non-democratic contexts. By reflecting on the experiences of 15 citizen science project coordinators, this paper contributes to the small but growing body of knowledge attempting to identify barriers and opportunities of doing citizen science with marginalised and Indigenous communities. Challenges affecting participation in the analysed projects include issues that range from lack of basic infrastructure and participant safety to unbalanced knowledge hierarchies and data rights. We found that, to overcome these challenges, projects have used several strategies, from promoting decentralized and low-tech solutions to engaging in bottom-up actions from a human-rights approach. Finally, our analysis of project impacts supports the idea that doing citizen science with marginalised and Indigenous communities might have a greater impact for participants than for science, as scientific achievements (although valuable) were not among the most important impacts highlighted in terms of project success. By providing stories from the field in a structured way, we aim to guide, to inform, and to inspire other citizen science projects, and to, ultimately, contribute to broader participation in citizen science in the future. Published on 2023-05-15 12:00:50
  • Using Shared Embedded Assessment Tools to Understand Participant Skills:
           Processes and Lessons Learned

    • Abstract: This paper describes the collaborative process for how a group of citizen science project leaders, evaluators, and researchers worked together to develop, validate, and test embedded assessments of two different volunteer science inquiry skills. The development process for creating these embedded assessments (activities integrated into the learning experience, allowing learners to demonstrate competencies) is articulated, as well as challenges encountered in assessing two science inquiry skills common in citizen science projects: notice relevant features and record standard observations. The authors investigate the extent to which the assessments were successful at achieving four criteria identified as ideal for shared embedded assessments of volunteers’ skills, namely: broadly applicable, authentic, performance-based, and integrated. Published on 2023-04-26 09:52:54
  • Examining Visitor Collected Species Data from Denali National Park and

    • Abstract: In citizen science programs, the concept of “participant” is often used as a catch-all without considering how different participants (e.g., young, old, wealthy, poor, differently-abled, local inhabitants, and visitors) affect scientific outcomes of citizen science programs (e.g., the data collection, data analysis, publications, etc.). This research advances the understanding of tourist participants’ ability to produce data comparable to participants who live near the study area. To examine data collected by tourist participants, we performed a case study on wildlife observation data collected through the Map of Life-Denali program in Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, USA. The species observation data collected by tourists and Alaska Residents were compared visually using heatmaps and statistically with the Ripley’s K function variation, the L function. Results from the analysis show that the tourist and resident data have similar point patterns for the three species we compared, Ursus arctos (Grizzly Bear), Rangifer tarandus (Caribou), and Alces alces (Moose). Our results indicate that tourists can be effective citizen science participants. And show the potential for leveraging this large pool of untapped participants in popular tourist destinations such as U.S. National Parks. Published on 2023-04-26 09:44:19
  • How Citizen Scientists Learn: Exploring Learning Perceptions Through an
           International Survey

    • Abstract: Citizen science (CS) is a growing field of participatory science, bringing together the public, researchers, organizations, and communities to participate in various scientific projects that unfold in different sociomaterial settings known as territories. While research on perceived learning in CS has recently grown, the discussion regarding the different learning approaches, territories, and the overall process as well as their associations with learning factors remains meager. In our study, we unpack three types of learning (formal, informal, and nonformal) and their respective territories in CS, and within this context, review a model of learning to synthesize the project-related and individual factors associated with the perceived learning of citizen scientists engaged in CS activities. We conducted an international survey for adults participating in CS, which was then analyzed using exploratory factor analysis (N = 596). We identified the following five factors regarding CS activities and perceived learning: sociomaterial learning, social learning, reflective learning, situational learning, and material learning. We found that perceived learning was lower for citizen scientists who participated in biology CS projects but higher among citizen scientists who participated in the long term and engaged in a variety of CS activities. Our findings highlight that the learning experiences of citizen scientists can be varied within a CS project because of the varied entanglements of project-related and individual factors, which can be better understood through a model of learning. Our findings contribute to developing further the theories and practices related to CS and CS in education. Published on 2023-04-20 10:10:49
  • Learning from the First Citizen Science Association Virtual Conference

    • Abstract: The Citizen Science Association (CSA) is a member-driven organization that connects people with interest in community/citizen science (c*science) from a wide range of backgrounds, disciplines, and experiences. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the bi-annual CSA conference pivoted away from an in-person format to a virtual format. CitSciVirtual: Local, Global, Connected occurred throughout May 2021 and brought together more than 700 attendees from 36 countries. The conference prioritized interactive experiences for attendees, including 16 collaborative poster sessions featuring 240 virtual posters, 55 workshops to learn and practice new skills, and 7 social events. This paper summarizes the impacts of the rapid transition to a virtual format on the conference goals, planning and decision-making processes, practices, outcomes, and attendee experiences. Both the strengths and weaknesses of this first virtual conference are featured to outline opportunities for growth for the CSA, c*science at large, and science conferences in general. Published on 2023-04-12 09:24:19
  • A Successful Crowdsourcing Approach for Bird Sound Classification

    • Abstract: Automated recorders are increasingly used in remote sensing of wildlife, yet automated methods of processing the audio remains challenging. Identifying animal sounds with machine learning provides a solution, but optimizing the models requires annotated training data. Producing such data can require much manual effort, which could be alleviated by engaging masses to contribute to research and share the workload. Birdwatchers are experts on identifying bird vocalizations and form an ideal focal audience for a citizen science project aiming for the required multitudes of annotated avian audio data. For this purpose, we launched a web portal that was targeted and advertised to Finnish birdwatchers. The users were asked to complete two kinds of tasks: 1) classify if a given bird sound belonged to the focal species and 2) classify all the bird species vocalizing in 10-second audio clips. In less than a year, the portal achieved annotations for 244,300 bird sounds and 5,358 clips, and attracted, on average, 70 visitors on daily basis. More than 200 birdwatchers took part in the classification tasks, of which 17 and 4 most dedicated users produced over half of the sound and clip classifications, respectively. As expected of birder experts, the classifications among users were highly consistent (mean agreement scores between 0.85–0.95, depending on the audio type) and resulted in high-quality training data for parameterizing machine learning models. Feedback about the web portal suggested that additional functionality such as increased freedom of choice would increase user motivation and dedication. Published on 2023-04-11 10:21:59
  • Accessibility of Participation in a Pollinator-Focused Community Science

    • Abstract: Ecological research, education, and community engagement were interrupted globally in the spring and summer of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To allow for continued data collection and to provide opportunities for people to interact with nature, we developed a community science project focusing on pollinator visitation to gardens and lawns. To evaluate the accessibility of this project to volunteers, we conducted 28 semi-structured interviews with people who participated in the project training. Interviewees experienced a number of barriers to participation, the most common of which were difficulty with the data collection procedure (n = 22), challenges using technology (n = 11), and lack of access to technology (n = 9). However, components of the online training and data collection procedure helped overcome some of these barriers. Strategies such as using a hybrid training format, simplifying the use of technology during training, and incorporating active learning into online workshops could increase participation in community science projects, both in the context of the pandemic and moving forward. Published on 2023-04-04 10:05:50
  • Engagement in the Data Collection Phase of the Scientific Process is Key
           for Enhancing Learning Gains

    • Abstract: Most programs that create opportunities for the public to engage in scientific research invite the public to collect data, but there is a call to expand opportunities for engagement in additional aspects of the scientific process. One reason behind this call is the hypothesis that people who participate to a greater degree in the scientific process experience more robust learning outcomes. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a quasi-experiment by using a pre-post survey design and comparing varying degrees of participation in a Bird Cams Lab investigation. Bird Cams Lab was a virtual space in which the public worked with scientists to design and implement co-created investigations involving live streaming or recorded footage of birds. We found that the higher the degree of participation in the investigation, the greater the increase in content knowledge, self-efficacy, and self-reported improvement in science inquiry skills. Interestingly, involvement in data collection was associated with the greatest gains in content knowledge and self-efficacy regardless of involvement in other parts of the scientific process. For programs with limited funding and resources that seek to increase participants’ content knowledge and self-efficacy, focusing efforts on supporting data collection may be the most impactful. Published on 2023-03-29 10:19:03
  • Opportunities and Barriers for Citizen Science Growth in Brazil:
           Reflections from the First Workshop of the Brazilian Citizen Science

    • Abstract: Citizen science networks can provide support and visibility to existing initiatives. Although citizen science is a growing practice in Brazil, several challenges still exist. A network can play an important role in overcoming these challenges, helping with the exchange of knowledge between initiatives or raising funding, for example. The Brazilian Citizen Science Network was created to advance citizen science in the country. The launch took place in March 2021 at a two-day online workshop focused on topics such as financial sustainability, technology, data quality, inter- and transdisciplinary infrastructure, engagement, and good practices. Based on the contents of the presentations and comments during the event, the authors of this report held follow-up meetings to identify favourable and unfavourable factors that can foster or constrain citizen science in Brazil. Afterwards, an open letter expressing these factors was produced and shared with the network members to register the status of challenges and opportunities we have discussed so far, to be used as a guide for future actions. This report provides an overview of the workshop. Despite depicting a local perspective, the challenges and opportunities discussed during the workshop and summarised in this report may also apply to fostering citizen science in other countries or establishing global practices. We consider that the Brazilian Citizen Science Network can play an important role in promoting the establishment of collaborative actions across the country. Published on 2023-03-27 10:27:29
  • Where Environmental Citizen Science Meets the Law

    • Abstract: Editorial for the special collection Where Environmental Citizen Science Meets The Law. Published on 2023-03-20 12:25:39
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