The NEWSERA Policy Briefs are out! With the experiences gathered during the first round of the #CitSciComm Labs – our co-creation workshops on innovative science communication – we developed a guide to help citizen science projects reach different stakeholders and face new challenges, within the evolving relationship between science and society.
The Policy Briefs identify the challenges that citizen science initiatives may face when reaching out to different communities, and pinpoint innovative ideas to overcome difficulties and adapt to a changing science communication environment. The documents are available in English, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
DOWNLOAD THE NEWSERA POLICY BRIEFS
- ENG – Re-thinking Science Communication: Take-away Ideas for Citizen Science Initiatives
- ITA – Ripensare la Comunicazione della Scienza: consigli pratici per le iniziative di Citizen Science
- PTG – Repensando a Comunicação de Ciência: Ideias para Iniciativas de Ciência Cidadã
- ESP – Repensar la Comunicación Científica: Ideas para iniciativas de Ciencia Ciudadana
The documents convey new approaches to address the stakeholders of the quadruple helix innovation framework: citizens and society at large, scientists, industries, policy makers – together with science and data journalists, that can be key allies to citizen science practitioners.
For example, while citizen science projects are based on the engagement of the general public, often they struggle to reach groups outside the “usual suspects”, i.e. science enthusiasts, or to involve participants for longer periods of time. To be more effective in reaching potential volunteers and to increase the projects’ impacts on the public, NEWSERA’s advice is to foster public engagement to promote open knowledge and involve people within the research process, especially already-established local communities. Moreover, involving citizens in each step of the scientific research allows to form an alliance between scientists and citizens that is beneficial for both. A network of well-informed citizens can also be a valid ally in fighting fake news on scientific issues through the promotion of critical thinking.
Other groups, such as academic scientists, policy makers and entrepreneurs, can be even harder to reach but equally precious for citizen science initiatives. Involving researchers can amplify a project’s reach among research institutions and help to promote open science. And teaming up with policy makers and industries can turn citizen science into a catalyst of innovation, but might also be a way to aim for openness and accountability in the public and private sector.
Science and data journalists are an underestimated stakeholder as well: the data gathered or produced by citizen scientists can be a great source for news stories, especially local ones. Being aware of the media environment can also help to spread the word about projects, increasing their impacts and raising public awareness.
According to Rosa Arias, NEWSERA’s coordinator:
“In NEWSERA we are demonstrating how important it is for citizen science projects to effectively reach their target audiences in order to bring positive impacts into society – impacts that matter to the citizens involved. By co-designing innovative communication strategies, we can increase citizen participation, gain trust in and build stories from citizen generated data, inform bottom-up public policies, or build new business models that will contribute to the sustainability of the projects. All stakeholders are key”.