During the last decade, citizen science has grown in popularity and effectiveness as a tool for scientific research. However, many scientists still see it as an activity for science communication or outreach, instead of a way to co-produce scientific knowledge and to increase science literacy.
Even when it’s seen as a science communication tool, the potential of citizen science is often overlooked by academic scientists. There is a general lack of information and interest in its methods as well as in its results, making it more difficult for them to consider participating in or starting a citizen science project.
For citizen science to become mainstream among academic scientists, we need to build trust between these two environments. If citizen science practitioners work together with scientists, they can learn how to reach them better as an audience, also enlarging their network. On the other hand, scientists can experience citizen science practices and see how the data gathered during citizen science projects could be transformed into science results.
Engaging both groups in a two-way learning process leads to synergies in research, teaching, public engagement, and may help in obtaining funding as well.
In the “NEWSERA Academic scientists Lab”, scientists and citizen science practitioners will work together towards these goals, during a series of co-creation workshops.
Participants include a small group of: citizen science practitioners (selected during the NEWSERA survey), scientists working in academic institutions (some of which already worked with citizen science, and others who did not), a science communication expert acting as moderator, and members from the NEWSERA Team.
The Lab is held online, with three different groups of participants in Spain, Portugal and Italy. While the co-creation workshops are held within each group, there will be moments in which all groups come together to share their work and findings.
The 1st workshop was conducted between January 11 and January 21, 2021.
More details on the 2nd and 3rd workshops will be published in the upcoming months.