EUA and OpenAIRE organized the two-day, online workshop "University approaches to Citizen Science in the transition to Open Science" on December 9th and 10th. It provided a place to discuss Citizen Science in an era of Open Science (OS) and showcased a range of Citizen Science (SC) projects combining the two movements. A particular focus was on support and opportunities for CS in universities and institutions, with ample attention to the analysis of current practice and the challenges for institutions and projects.
It will be key to provide support and incentives to encourage institutions and academic staff to pursue citizen science.by Alexander Refsum Jensenius
After the introduction by Jean-Pierre Finance (EUA) and Inge Van Nieuwerburgh (OpenAIRE), keynote speaker Muki Haklay (University College London) talked about the rapid, growing awareness for CS in the last decade where it moved from local practice to global movement.He identified underlying trends such as the rise in levels of education and the spread of technological developments which have made it easier to involve people and share results.
Mr. Haklay identifies three types of CS:
An emerging trend of the latest years is the science of CS, where institutions and university courses explore the possibilities and dynamics of this way of doing science. CS exists across disciplines to develop the understanding of the science of CS and how to promote their work.
The lively panel with Daniel Wyler (University of Zurich) as moderator, Muki Haklay ((University College London), Susanne Tönsmann (University of Zurich), Loreta Tauginienė (Ombudsperson for Academic Ethics and Procedures of the Republic of Lithuania), and Alexander Refsum Jensenius (University of Oslo) discussed CS in different regions which posed their own challenges, the need to integrate CS in institutions and embed them in research practice rather then make them a separate entity and the need to include CS as part of research assessment.
As the OpenAIRE session indicated, Open Science (OS) can enable CS with data management, infrastructure, communication channels, skills and training needs. There is a natural partnership between the two, opening up science and providing transparency. The different lightning talks by Katerina Zourou (Ph.D, Web2Learn) who advocated to integrate OS and CS into active learning approaches and thus modernise education through CS and OS, Luis Alberto Nuñez (Universidad Industrial de Santander) who helped set up an international collaboration involving South-American schools in physics called: LA-CoNGA physics, Steven Caluwaerts (Ghent University) whose project VLINDER provided an online, real-time dashboard for their meteorological data collected by schools and Jiří Marek (Masaryk University) who saw how CS could be the next step for OS in the city of Brno where CS is included in the open science strategy, provided examples of this natural partnership. The context of CS is exemplary for the move towards a more transparent research process, as CS can be part of a broader transition to OS. Although also here we hear the challenge of sustainability, as a crucial question.
Universities in Europe are exploring and promoting the potential of CS to expand public participation in science and support alternative models of knowledge production (Muki Haklay), as there are quite some opportunities.
However CS is rarely part of institutional mission, nor approaches to academic career assessment. In short, it's not a common part of the academic culture. As Alexander Refsum Jensenius (University of Oslo) presented in "Some Challenges of Citizen Science for universities: "it will be key to provide support and incentives to encourage institutions and academic staff to pursue citizen science".
Challenges mentioned throughout the two days were:
Alexander Refsum Jensenius proposed a combined strategy to address some of these challenges with a combination of institutional policies and bottom-up pilot projects to experiment with different approaches.
Universities are important enablers of CS but also receivers of the benefits as it enables research that is not possible otherwise, addresses the need for social impact, contributes to a multitude of institutional missions such as teaching, research and outreach and it crosses disciplinary boundaries as such EUA has provided policy input on the new European Research Area, where they continue to build a common research and innovation landscape with a broader vision for the new European Research area with deepening existing priorities and objectives. EUA's policy input included the need to support incentives and rewards for CS.
EUA calls on the European commission and the EU member states to work with universities and provide the necessary support and to develop adequate incentives and rewards.