European Citizen Science: the communication and dissemination plan in a nutshell
Dec. 27, 2022, 7 a.m.
Communication, engagement and dissemination are essential elements of all citizen science projects. According to the Communication in Citizen Science. A practical guide to communication and engagement in citizen science published by Scivil, the Flanders association of citizen science (2019):
95% of citizen science is communication. Communication is a vital aspect of citizen science. It is a necessary part of the process of recruiting, engaging and keeping participants motivated. And a necessary means of announcing research results (dissemination) and teaching participants more about the project focus and scientific process (education).
That's why we decided to elaborate a strategic communication and dissemination plan that will guide the European Citizen Science project for the next 4 years and beyond. Here we share its essence.
The European Citizen Science project has the overall objective to widen and strengthen the citizen science community in Europe. It is committed to push modern science towards open science, will contribute to make Europe positioned as a leader in citizen science throughout the entire research and innovation system through capacity building and awareness, the creation of a European Citizen Science Academy and the establishment of a network of citizen science ambassadors.
Such a complex structure can be visualised as an archipelago within a vast ocean, the latter representing the realm of citizen science. The islands, referring to the association, academy, media, communities, news and events and resources, belong to the same system, yet each one has its own specific characteristics (fig. 1). Beyond the borders of the archipelago extends the vast ocean of citizen science open to exploration and new knowledge.
Figure 1. Two versions of the metaphor of ECS as an archipelago in the vast ocean of citizen science. The first is adapted from the EU-Citizen.Science logo modified with the ECSA colour palette; the second one is based on the logo used in the submitted ECS project proposal. Both are very preliminary and serve as inspiration.
Our identity and values
The European Citizen Science project is focused on openness and diversity, inclusion and internationality, and aims at empowering the European citizen science community. These efforts will result in a number of key scientific, societal and policy impacts, which will strongly contribute to securing Europe's global position as a leader in citizen science throughout the entire research and innovation system, and further strengthen the global citizen science community.
These principles and values are reflected in our vision and mission statements, which must express the concept that we want to become a dynamic, inclusive, and globally connected European citizen science community, that tackles present and future societal challenges and contributes to transformative change. Synthetically these concepts are currently expressed as follows:
A globally connected, inclusive and strong citizen science community for societal change in Europe
Creating and sharing data, resources, training and services with communities involved in citizen science, building capacity, and uniting diverse European actors under a common platform
Objectives, audiences and tools
European Citizen Science (ECS) will target various stakeholders to mainstream citizen science, and increase the number of European citizens engaged in citizen science activities. Our approach aims for a wide geographical and discipline representation: not only natural and environmental sciences, but also ecology, astronomy, medicine, computer science, cartography, statistics, psychology, genetics, engineering, neuroscience, biochemistry, air or sea pollution monitoring, social sciences, archeology, indigenous culture, etc. A range of services and tools will reach out to various audiences.
Researchers, civil society, policy makers, private sector, formal and non-formal educators, media and media operators will find opportunities to know and appreciate the potential of the citizen science approach for the dialogue between science and society and for the democratisation of science itself. Specific messages and tools will be developed for each audience adapting and developing the general objectives summarised below.
The European Citizen Science project general objectives
Objective 1: Empower the European citizen science community through co-design and co-creation
Objective 2: Strengthen the links and collaboration between existing citizen science initiatives
Objective 3: Increase the participation of citizens from all walks of life in citizen science through an inclusive approach
Objective 4: Build the capacity to conduct excellent research and innovation through citizen science
Objective 5: Raise awareness, support and mainstream citizen science among new actors, new territories and scientific fields
Objective 6: Better align data infrastructures to the needs of citizen science, and improve open science practices employed by citizen science initiatives
The eu-citizen.science platform will be the main harbour of the European Citizen Science archipelago. There sailors will find blog posts, interviews, a podcast and other useful content. The platform will also host all the resources and project outputs and will be and enriched by the contributions submitted to the platform by national and regional citizen science initiatives and projects. A dedicated section on the eu-citizen.science platform will provide up-to-date information regarding project objectives, progress, results, publications, and reports for different target groups, in a clear and comprehensive way. Information materials will be accessible to the wider public.
Follow us on our social channels, which will be the most direct link with the community. And it is precisely the community that is the key to the success of the European Citizen Science project: Only through the joint efforts of a strong, cohesive and collaborative community can we altogether achieve our goals.