Citizen Science to Citizen Dialogue?
Citizen Science is not new. Volunteer citizens have been collecting scientific data as far back as the century-old Christmas Bird count. Its continued popularity, fuelled in part by new technologies and tightening finances, means that it is increasingly important and has recently been hailed as ‘vital’ to the survival of long term data sets.
So far, the world of citizen science has had little overlap with science dialogue. We are asking on our Sciencewise forum whether there is potential for such overlap, collaboration, or cross-fertilisation of participants or ideas. For example:
• Could the hands-on, practical aspect of citizen science be a powerful gateway to encourage citizens to take more of an interest in science policy? In an article this month, Cornell professor Harry W. Greene, who has been working with citizen scientists, notes that "when you make an observation... you put yourself into the life of the organism. You care more.”
• While this month’s interviewee Lord Robert Winston argues that most science already belongs to citizens as tax-payers, this fact is brought closer to home for people whose own work has contributed to a research finding. Could science dialogue tap into this sense of ownership as a motivator to have more of a say in science policy?
• How could the introduction of dialogue contribute to citizen science? Currently, most citizen science is directed very much from the top, where citizens are largely contributors to questions and issues set by professionals. Would there be benefit to citizens having a role in agenda setting, or what happens with the research they have contributed to?
Share your thoughts on the Sciencewise forum.