What is the report about?
In its recent report, which was published in May 20210, the Joint Research Center of European Commission explores the factors that are associated with increased engagement with Citizen Science, and how these factors can be positively leveraged. The combination of civic inertia and public disengagement that have been caused by the recent pandemic renders the issue as urgent as ever. To promote and sustain participatory and inclusive forms of science, it is imperative to first understand them.
What is the challenge?
The rapid pace of technology advancements, the open innovation paradigm, and the ubiquity of high-speed connectivity, greatly facilitate access to information to individuals, increasing their opportunities to achieve greater emancipation and empowerment. This emancipation can be greatly leveraged through the new scientific paradigm of Citizen Science, thus overcoming at the same time issues of scientific transparency and inclusion. Nonetheless, despite that the interdisciplinary approach taken so far has shown significant results and findings, the current situation depicts a wide range of projects that are heavily limited within the learning outcomes of specific pilot areas in which Citizen Science projects are implemented. As such, there is little evidence on how to foster the spread and scalability in Citizen Science.
What is the contribution of this report?
To address these issues, the scientific team of authors who prepared the report has developed a theoretically grounded framework to unbundle the meaning of scaling and spreading in Citizen Science. In this framework, nine constructs have been defined to represent the enablers of Citizen Science. The framework was then validated, enriched, and instantiated via four qualitative case studies of, diverse, successful examples of scaling and spreading in Citizen Science. Moreover, the framework and the rich experiences allow the formulation of four theoretically and empirically grounded scaling scenarios. Therefore, the framework and the in-depth case studies are essentially the main added value of the report.
You can access the report here.
Why this is relevant to INCENTIVE?
During the first six months of the INCENTIVE project (February – July 2021), a large-scale research took place across four pilot countries (Greece, Spain, Lithuania, and the Netherlands), with the aim to unravel the barriers, enablers, and motivational factors that support or hinder stakeholders’ and citizens’ engagement with Citizen Science. A series of semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and a large-scale survey with roughly 8,000 citizens were implemented. The deliverable that was issued in July 2021 presents all the findings, which highlight different patterns and attitudes across countries, and therefore dictate the necessity to tailor engagement policies at the regional level.
You can read our deliverable here.