PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology


Citizen science associations and networks as agents of professionalization - from loose practitioner networks to knowledge hubs

Claudia Goebel  

Citizen Science is gaining momentum as a movement uniting professional researchers and science aficionados, globally. The term, included in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2014, has recently become popular to refer to a bustling variety of novel participation and outreach formats across the full spectrum of scientific disciplines including volunteer computing and stretching as far as citizen-led hacker and maker initiatives. As the number of such opportunities for laypersons to contribute to research is multiplying and gaining global visibility, a development certainly spurred by advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs), meetups of practitioners are mushrooming and dedicated associations are forming around the world, like the US Citizen Science Association (CSA), the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) and the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA). Also in China and New Zeeland initiatives are underway to found networks to promote Citizen Science, foster the exchange of experiences, mutual learning and the establishment of quality criteria among other aims. In line with these developments is the hope to push research on Citizen Science even further beyond the collection of local case studies to a more coherent and systematic field of study that will be able to stimulate more critical reflection, inclusiveness and effectiveness. This poster will explore the global trend of emerging Citizen Science associations giving an overview of current developments worldwide and prototypical examples from different world regions. Based on an analysis of documents elaborated by these associations as well as membership surveys conducted by them we will examine central characteristics of each organisation, i.e. aims, structure, phase of institutionalization, and analyze their general orientations, understanding of Citizen Science as well as their strategic role for advancing Citizen Science. We will also highlight their potential and the challenges these associations are facing.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.