I hoped to start the very first discussion on this platform to address Citizen Science, but I was beaten to it by a comment on Thierry's opening blog – a very welcome sign that this is an important subject for Europe as it can democratise science and empower people, and yet is not a panacea and has real problems which must be addressed if we are to make it a useful addition to the ways of doing science in the digital age. A good start has already been made, with the white paper from Socientize setting out the framework for an approach; with its use across Europe in both publicly-funded and bottom-up initiatives, operating at and local, regional or trans-national levels; with a European organisation established to promote it; with guidelines for its use in public engagement; promoting it as a methodology in Horizon 2020, and recognising its crossovers such as synergies with art, and for citizen engagement for smart cities.
This isn't just a European phenomenon - earlier this week in the US, at the White House Citizen Science Forum, several announcements were made including a Crowdsourcing & Citizen Science toolkit , a Citizen Science Day, proposed legislation, and others (for an overview see here).
Of course, we have problems to address if we want to benefit fully from Citizen Science and extend its use and usefulness. Issues such as data quality, reliability, curation, reputation systems, and ownership must all be tackled. And that's where YOU come in – we hope that by starting this discussion, you will give us your ideas on what we can do at EU level to tackle some of these obstacles. Do we need to launch specific actions to solve these, or do we just promote its use and share best practice and lessons learned? Please, feel free to share your ideas and suggestions here. We're hoping to hear from you!