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Citizen Science and Crowd Funding

Clemens discusses the challenges and the status quo of databases of citizen science.
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© This work by Clemens Blümel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

​Novel Data Sources for Participation in Research?

Also in the realm of science, the integration and participation of users and citizens is highly acknowledged at least by science administrators and science policy officials. With the emergence of Citizen Science, there are new ways of accessing and utilizing the crowd’s knowledge, expertise, and working capacity (Franzoni & Sauermann, 2014).

Though Citizen Science projects often rely on rather standardized inputs from citizens and laymen in the process of data generation, they nevertheless can be read as a gateway to understand public particpation in research (Scheliga, Friesike, Puschmann, & Fecher, 2016).

Novel databases show which different kinds of Citizen Science projects have been performed or are currently running. These databases also provide information about which different scholarly fields are particularly active in gaining input from citizens. Data reveals, for instance that there are fewer Citizen Science projects in the social sciences (also termed as Citizen Social Science), while these fields could be particularly helpful in establishing interaction formats with different groups and areas of society (Purdam, 2014).

Hence, databases about Citizen Science and citizens participation in research and innovation may be relevant for exploring a societies’ participation in research. This could be, for instance, also complemented by already existing surveys for public attitudes towards science, conducted by national and aggregated by supranational agencies.

As mentioned in week 2 on “What is open science?”, a central motivation for Open Science initiatives was to restore public trust in scientific institutions and scholarly knowledge production which is why accounting for public participation in research appears to be highly relevant. Existing databases about Citizen Science research, such as in Germany, GEWISS, may provide a gateway towards these questions.

In similar ways the conduct of Citizen Science, as well as the financing of research of crowd investment appears to be an interesting source that may allow for further exploration. Novel platforms such as sciencestarter have emerged which allow scientists to finance smaller research projects that would otherwise not be funded.

Moreover, they often also provide opportunities for direct interaction between scientists and laymen. They can therefore also be considered a communicative or exchange activity. Currently, comparatively little is known as to how these are used and what information about members of the public they provide, yet they certainly also deserve more exploration.

© This work by Clemens Blümel is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
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