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Open Science Monitor

What is citizen science?

Many aspects of open science are about new ways that researchers interact with one another and share information. Another important feature of open science relates to how the public is taking a more active role in science – ‘citizen science’.

Citizen science is both an aim and enabler of open science. It can refer to citizens ‘doing science’, for example, through crowdsourcing. Or it can mean greater understanding of science by the public made possible through greater access to information about the research process such as the ability to use open research data or download open access journal articles. Citizen science can refer to the ability of the public to understand science and engage with scientists, through more ‘open’ communication in the form of blogs and social media. The public is also engaging in policy-making through, for example, agenda-setting for research systems.

 

Explore results from an EU-wide survey on citizen science

A survey was conducted in 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe.

EU-wide survey on citizen science

 

 

Case Studies

Summaries provide a short description of the ‘what’, ’who’ ‘when’, and ‘why’ of open science-related initiatives. Detailed case studies are also available for download.

  • Foldit
    An online game enabling players to contribute to scientific research by solving puzzles
  • Geo-Wiki
    An online platform for engaging citizens in environmental monitoring
  • Research Excellence Framework
    REF assesses the wider societal benefits of academic research occurring in the UK
  • Zooniverse
    A public web portal where people from around the world can assist professional researchers with scientific projects
A detailed methodology report  PDF icon 229 KB describes how the monitor was developed
Notes
chart
Source: Data provided by Hecker, Garbe & Bonn (2016) Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

A survey was conducted by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in October-November 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe. The survey was designed to provide a preliminary evidence base for the development of the open science monitor and inform the development of citizen science indicators for the future. It was also developed as a follow-on to the First International European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) conference.

The survey was targeted at both researchers who run citizen science projects and research funders and supporters of citizen science. It was sent to about 400 contacts – including people in the European Citizen Science Association and other individuals and organisations involved in citizen science across Europe. Respondents were also encouraged to forward the survey on to others.

 

There were 207 responses. The majority of respondents (173 out of 207; 84%) were involved in running and coordinating citizen science projects. As the number of respondents who were funders and other supporters of citizen science was low and included a very diverse group of organisations, only the data from the respondents who run or help to run a citizen project are presented here.

 

chart
Source: Data provided by Hecker, Garbe & Bonn (2016) Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

A survey was conducted by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in October-November 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe. The survey was designed to provide a preliminary evidence base for the development of the open science monitor and inform the development of citizen science indicators for the future. It was also developed as a follow-on to the First International European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) conference.

The survey was targeted at both researchers who run citizen science projects and research funders and supporters of citizen science. It was sent to about 400 contacts – including people in the European Citizen Science Association and other individuals and organisations involved in citizen science across Europe. Respondents were also encouraged to forward the survey on to others.

 

There were 207 responses. The majority of respondents (173 out of 207; 84%) were involved in running and coordinating citizen science projects. As the number of respondents who were funders and other supporters of citizen science was low and included a very diverse group of organisations, only the data from the respondents who run or help to run a citizen project are presented here.

 

chart
Source: Data provided by Hecker, Garbe & Bonn (2016) Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

A survey was conducted by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in October-November 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe. The survey was designed to provide a preliminary evidence base for the development of the open science monitor and inform the development of citizen science indicators for the future. It was also developed as a follow-on to the First International European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) conference.

The survey was targeted at both researchers who run citizen science projects and research funders and supporters of citizen science. It was sent to about 400 contacts – including people in the European Citizen Science Association and other individuals and organisations involved in citizen science across Europe. Respondents were also encouraged to forward the survey on to others.

 

There were 207 responses. The majority of respondents (173 out of 207; 84%) were involved in running and coordinating citizen science projects. As the number of respondents who were funders and other supporters of citizen science was low and included a very diverse group of organisations, only the data from the respondents who run or help to run a citizen project are presented here.

 

chart
Source: Data provided by Hecker, Garbe & Bonn (2016) Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

A survey was conducted by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in October-November 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe. The survey was designed to provide a preliminary evidence base for the development of the open science monitor and inform the development of citizen science indicators for the future. It was also developed as a follow-on to the First International European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) conference.

The survey was targeted at both researchers who run citizen science projects and research funders and supporters of citizen science. It was sent to about 400 contacts – including people in the European Citizen Science Association and other individuals and organisations involved in citizen science across Europe. Respondents were also encouraged to forward the survey on to others.

 

There were 207 responses. The majority of respondents (173 out of 207; 84%) were involved in running and coordinating citizen science projects. As the number of respondents who were funders and other supporters of citizen science was low and included a very diverse group of organisations, only the data from the respondents who run or help to run a citizen project are presented here.

 

chart
Source: Data provided by Hecker, Garbe & Bonn (2016) Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

A survey was conducted by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in October-November 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe. The survey was designed to provide a preliminary evidence base for the development of the open science monitor and inform the development of citizen science indicators for the future. It was also developed as a follow-on to the First International European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) conference.

The survey was targeted at both researchers who run citizen science projects and research funders and supporters of citizen science. It was sent to about 400 contacts – including people in the European Citizen Science Association and other individuals and organisations involved in citizen science across Europe. Respondents were also encouraged to forward the survey on to others.

 

There were 207 responses. The majority of respondents (173 out of 207; 84%) were involved in running and coordinating citizen science projects. As the number of respondents who were funders and other supporters of citizen science was low and included a very diverse group of organisations, only the data from the respondents who run or help to run a citizen project are presented here.

 

chart
Source: Data provided by Hecker, Garbe & Bonn (2016) Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ/ German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv).

A survey was conducted by Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ and German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in October-November 2016 to map citizen science activities currently taking place across Europe. The survey was designed to provide a preliminary evidence base for the development of the open science monitor and inform the development of citizen science indicators for the future. It was also developed as a follow-on to the First International European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) conference.

The survey was targeted at both researchers who run citizen science projects and research funders and supporters of citizen science. It was sent to about 400 contacts – including people in the European Citizen Science Association and other individuals and organisations involved in citizen science across Europe. Respondents were also encouraged to forward the survey on to others.

 

There were 207 responses. The majority of respondents (173 out of 207; 84%) were involved in running and coordinating citizen science projects. As the number of respondents who were funders and other supporters of citizen science was low and included a very diverse group of organisations, only the data from the respondents who run or help to run a citizen project are presented here.

 

Foldit

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  • A collaborative approach to conduct research
  • Citizen scientists contributed to the research and game design
  • A scientific tool used for educational purposes
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What?

Foldit is an online game enabling players to contribute to scientific research by solving puzzles. The objective is to predict protein structures thereby contributing to research including the development of potential new drugs.

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When?

Foldit was launched in 2007.

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Who?

This project is mainly developed by the University of Washington’s (UW) Center for Game Science in close collaboration with the UW Department of Biochemistry.

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Why?

The identification of structural configuration of proteins enables scientist to better understand the functioning of proteins, and therefore make advances in the treatment of diseases. Since protein structures are difficult to identify given the countless possibilities, this is considered to be one of the biggest challenges in the field of biology. Foldit aims to take advantage of human intuition to solve puzzles to predict such structures.

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The Open Science Element

  • Foldit’s collaborative approach enables its players, research partners, and funders to contribute to the agenda setting by submitting proteins to be studied
  • Citizen scientists are engaged in protein folding, but also as contributors to the game design

Geo-Wiki

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  • Citizen scientists validate and collect new data
  • Improvement and development of projects collecting and validating environmental monitoring data
  • Enhancement of public access to scientific data
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What?

The Geo-Wiki Project is an online platform for engaging citizens in environmental monitoring.

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When?

2009 – present.

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Who?

The Geo-Wiki project was founded by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt and the University of Freiburg.

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Why?

Understanding where cropland is located is important for monitoring environmental changes such as deforestation. There is a lack of accurate data on land cover in some regions of the world. Geo-Wiki aims to address the lack of data by providing the necessary tools to volunteers to help improve the quality of global land cover maps.

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The Open Science Element

  • Interaction between game developers and volunteers
  • Crowdsourcing from citizen scientists to collect and analyse data

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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  • Demonstrated the value of citizen contribution to the conduct and funding of academic research
  • Research users engaged in all aspects of the REF process, assessing and evaluating the wider societal benefits and impacts of academic research
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What?

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) assesses the wider societal benefits of academic research occurring in the UK. Research users worked alongside academic colleagues in the submission and assessment process of impact case studies.

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When?

2014.

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Who?

Research users (e.g. organisations representing members of the public or industry) were engaged throughout the submission and assessment process for REF 2014.

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Why?

REF 2014 assessed the impact of research that has occurred between 2008 and 2013 and allocated funding to higher education institutions across the UK based on the outcomes observed.

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The Open Science Element

  • Provision and validation of evidence of impacts claimed
  • Assessment and evaluation of impact case studies

Zooniverse

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  • Citizen scientists collaborate with professional researchers on scientific projects
  • Has resulted in scientific articles, meta-analyses and research datasets
  • Improved public access to scientific data
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What?

Zooniverse is a public web portal where people from around the world can assist professional researchers with scientific projects, with the results made available to the general public. The objective of Zooniverse is to enable collaborative research from volunteers through a publicly accessible online platform.

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When?

Zooniverse was launched in 2007.

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Who?

The Zooniverse platform is overseen by the Citizen Science Alliance, which is governed by a board of directors from nine institutions in Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the U.S.

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Why?

Zooniverse projects are developed with the aim of converting volunteers' efforts into measurable results. The platform hosts projects from a range of disciplines (48 projects from 11 disciplines as of late December 2016), with nature predominating. Zooniverse research projects have resulted in new discoveries, useful datasets and more than 100 publications/published research papers.

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The Open Science Element

  • Requires the active participation of volunteers to complete research tasks on scientific projects
  • Results are accessible for educational purposes