On the 24th Nov 2022, the INCENTIVE Spanish core members Sofia Mojica and Begoña Miñarro, together with Science for Change, facilitated a training about citizen science for the staff at the Library Services of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. The training was part of the capacity-building activities in the framework of the operationalisation of UAB’s Citizen Science Hub and was delivered in the Faculty of Educational Sciences of UAB.

Background and objectives

The Library Services had asked a training on citizen science for the librarians at the UAB Training Unit. As such, the UAB Training Unit got in contact with the UAB CS Hub to ask for advise on how to organise this training. It was decided that it would be a joint training between Science for Change and UAB’s CS Hub. UAB Training Unit included the training session in the training offer for the administrative and service staff and promoted it. The location was chosen by UAB Training Unit, taking into account the requirements of Science for Change and UAB. They booked it and took care of admitting the participants to the training. Joint meetings between the UAB Training Unit, Science for Change, and the UAB CS Hub took place prior to the event in order to agree on the content and the structure of the training. Moreover, Science for Change and UAB CS Hub developed a joint questionnaire to evaluate the training.

Structure of the training

The training’s sessions unfolded as follows:

  • Introduction to Citizen Science (SfC)
  • Importance of the link between Citizen Science and Libraries (SfC)
  • Examples of CS projects in Libraries around the world (SfC)
  • Explanation of the project ISC2 BiblioLab of Social Innovation and Citizen Science implemented by UAB (Begoña Miñarro, UAB CS Hub)
  • Presentation of the single point of contact for citizen science at UAB and group reflexion about the skills needed as librarians to have an active role in citizen science and about the support they can provide to researchers and teachers involved in citizen science (Sofia Mojica, UAB CS Hub)
  • Participatory activity: Each group of 7 people was presented with a hypothetic issue/challenge and, with the help of a facilitator per group, they had to co-design a citizen science project that addressed the issue at hand (SfC)
  • Presentation of the teamwork (SfC)
  • Evaluation of the training (SfC and CS Hub)

During the training, the UAB team used Mentimeter to ask the participants about their willingness to become active actors in citizen science projects as well as the competencies they considered would be useful for them to be involved in citizen science projects. Participants also shared their opinion regarding the skills they considered they could acquire or improve. Finally, they were asked how they thought the Library Services could support researchers in the implementation of CS projects or teachers in the incorporation of CS in the courses.

Outcomes of the training

In total, 33 people from non-academic staff participated. Engaging participants revealed insight about the skills that librarians considered to be important for them as active actors in citizen science at UAB. The analysis revealed that the most mentioned skills were: teamwork, communication, motivation, assessment, facilitation, and flexibility. Moreover, new ideas were generated in terms of how the Library Service can provide support to researchers doing citizen science. Most participants consider that the fact of getting to know new people during the training turned or can turn in new associations or networks to promote Responsible Research and Innovation.

The post-event evaluation questionnaire revealed that participants valued the participatory nature of the training. Overall, the training was assessed positively, even though time limitation was regarded as a drawback. It seems that training sessions on Citizen Science need to last longer and go into more depth, especially when participants lack prior experience or knowledge of the topic.