The EU-Citizen.Science project is developing a set of characteristics for citizen science, to ensure that all users of the platform have a common understanding of what it is. This will be shared early in 2020.
In the meantime, if you are new to citizen science, here are some definitions of citizen science from other organisations in the field.
- The European Citizen Science Association has developed 10 principles of citizen science, which are available in a number of languages.
- The Citizen Science Association defines citizen science as “the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations”.
- The Australian Citizen Science Association states that “citizen science involves public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge”.
- SciStarter explains citizen science as “the public involvement in inquiry and discovery of new scientific knowledge” and identifies four common features of citizen science practice: (1) anyone can participate; (2) participants use the same protocol, so data can be combined and be high quality; (3) data can help real scientists come to real conclusions; and (4) a wide community of scientists and volunteers work together and share data to which the public, as well as scientists, have access.
Citizen science takes place in diverse fields, including ecology, astronomy, medicine, computer science – and many more. And citizen science can happen at a range of different scales – from local projects to continental and global scales, and from short projects to those that occur over decades! If you are interested in finding out more about the characteristics that define what is and isn’t citizen science, there is an ECSA Working Group that is exploring these themes.