Citizen Science: beyond the laboratory

One of the priority lines of the Horizon 2020 European program for the next four years is the promotion of responsible research and innovation that promotes the active involvement of citizens in the scientific process. It is the so-called Citizen  Science , a subject of special interest in Medialab UGR for its social component and for the openness it entails to distributed and more diverse forms of knowledge generation. All this combined with the role of digital technologies to generate a layer of essential interaction that makes these projects can be massive (if necessary) and scalable.

The  Green Paper on Citizen Science  ( pdf ) prepared by Socientize for the European Commission defines Citizen Science as follows  :

Citizen Science refers to the general public engagement in scientific research activities when citizens actively contribute to science either with their intellectual effort or surrounding knowledge or with their tools and resources.

Own translation: “Citizen Science refers to the involvement of the general public in research activities in those cases where citizens actively contribute to science either through their intellectual effort or knowledge or with their tools and resources.”

Participants in these projects can play several roles:

  • Provide data for experiments,
  • Raise new research questions,
  • Generate possible solutions to problems, etc.

In general, it is a matter of incorporating a culture of co-creation in the scientific field in which the citizenship is not a mere object of research, but is a protagonist of the same one developing new learning and competences, as well as a deeper understanding of the scientific work . The scenario that draws the Citizen Science is open, connected and transdisciplinary, providing new forms of interaction between science and society.

If you want to know more about the subject I invite you to see this brief talk by Fermín Serrano entitled “Squeezing Citizen Science”.

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