Wilson Center’s Science & Technology Innovation Program

REPORT RELEASE: Crowdsourcing and Legal Issues Affecting Federal Agencies

In Citizen Science, Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Governance on April 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm

photo_crowdsourcing_legal

The Commons Lab is excited to announce a long-anticipated publication by Privacy Lawyer Robert Gellman on Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and the Law: Legal Issues Affecting Federal Agencies.

This report reviews the legal and regulatory issues that federal agencies face when they engage in citizen science and crowdsourcing activities. It identifies relevant issues that most federal agencies must consider, reviews the legal standards, suggests ways that agencies can comply with or lawfully evade requirements, and discusses practical approaches that can ease the path for federal citizen science and crowdsourcing projects, including procedural activities, cooperative actions, legislative changes, and regulatory adjustments.

The Commons Lab plans to print a policy memo based on the key points in the report, to be released this summer during a Wilson Center event. In addition we will be digitizing the legal work flow that federal practitioners must undertake to comply with federal regulations when beginning a citizen science or crowdsourcing effort. Check back with us soon!

To download the whole report: http://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/crowdsourcing-citizen-science-and-the-law-legal-issues-affecting-federal-agencies

Event: DC Science Hack Day

In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, News and Events on April 1, 2015 at 3:46 pm

http://sciencehackday.org/logo/

The Commons Lab is excited to announce Washington DC’s first ever Science Hack Day, to be held May 16th & 17th at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Science Hack Day a free, 48-hour event where civic minded and creative people come together to prototype innovative ideas using government data, problem sets, tools, design, and SCIENCE!  Science Hack Day has been 46 times in 17 different countries, but never before in Washington, DC. It is time for the brilliant and passionate people of this nation’s capital came together in the same physical space to see what they can prototype in 48 consecutive hours. Designers, developers, scientists and anyone who is excited about making things for and with science are welcome to attend – no experience in science or hacking is necessary, just an insatiable curiosity.

The mission of Science Hack Day is to get excited and make things with science! People organically form multidisciplinary teams over the course of a weekend: particle physicists team up with designers, marketers join forces with open source rocket scientists, writers collaborate with molecular biologists, and developers partner with school kids. By collaborating on focused tasks during this short period, small groups of hackers are capable of producing remarkable results.

If you would like to join DC’s Science Hack Day, or would like to know more about this exciting event, please visit the official website at: dc.sciencehackday.org

EVENT DETAILS

Sat May 16 9:00am – Sun May 17 4:00pm

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dc-science-hack-day-2015-registration-15898702447
Directions to the Wilson Center

This event was made possible through the generosity of our sponsors, including the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, and the collaborative power of the Kennedy Center. SHD was created by Ariel Waldman and is an “open source” event, to be replicated in any city!

White House Recognizes Citizen Science, CSA Commitments, at Science Fair

In Citizen Science, News and Events on March 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm

This post is re-blogged from the Citizen Science Association. The original post can be found here

Washington, D.C. ­­(March 23rd, 2015)– Citizen science received some high level attention today when plans were unveiled to install a new rain gauge in the First Lady’s Kitchen Garden.

This rain gauge represents far more than just a Pennsylvania Avenue data point for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS), a citizen science network of over 20,000 active participants who serve as the largest source of daily precipitation data in the United States. Announced in conjunction with the White House Science Fair, this commitment points to high-level recognition of citizen science as a powerful platform for science education.

CoCoRaHS founder, Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken, was on hand for the White House Science Fair. Doesken, also a member of the Citizen Science Association Board of Directors, says: “This fair clearly shows how the youth of our national are exploring the frontiers of science.  But people of all ages and backgrounds are also helping advance scientific research, education and discovery.  Today, opportunities abound for any of us to be “citizen scientists” — contributing through our own back yard and neighborhood observations or helping scientists analyze and interpret complex systems.  There are so many opportunities and they help make science very real and relevant.”

The Citizen Science Association (CSA) is leading the charge to support excellence in education through citizen science. As outlined in a document released today by the White House, CSA is creating resources to help citizen science projects excel at supporting education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“Citizen science represents a transformative opportunity for both formal and informal science education,” says Sarah Kirn, from Gulf of Maine Research Institute and Co-Chair of CSA’s Education Working Group. “Through citizen science, educators have the opportunity to design experiences that immerse learners in the practices, concepts, and knowledge of science, but these experiences must be carefully constructed to achieve both scientific and learning outcomes.”

To this end, the CSA will work over the coming year to highlight projects representing exemplary practices in education through real-world research. CSA will also work withSciStarter to align 500 projects with standards for educational practices in science and engineering.

Some exemplary work is already receiving attention by the White House. In addition to CoCoRaHS, citizen science efforts highlighted in White House Science Fair exhibitions andannouncements include:

  • Work by 17-year old Tiye Garrett-Mills, a Teen Science Scholar at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, to develop low-cost instrumentation for leaf vein scanning and identification
  • Commitments by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to distribute Quest materials to help 4th graders and their families use eBird to connect to nature as part of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park
  • An announcement of a new Citizen Science Tool lending library organized by SciStarter and Public Lab
  • The National Ecological Observatory Network’s “Project BudBurst” will offer a new online course to support citizen science at wildlife refuges
  • Esri will release a free open crowdsourcing app designed to help teachers, students, and youth groups easily create their own projects, report observations, and explore them on a dynamic map

Everyone is also encouraged to add their own young scientists’ citizen science projects to the White House Science Fair map:https://crowdsource.storymaps.esri.com/stories/science-fair

President Obama, commenting on the White House Science Fair, said: “There’s a reason so many young people love science.  It’s fun, it’s fascinating, and it helps us solve the mysteries of our world.   I want more boys and girls across America to get the chance to study science, technology, engineering and math – and maybe have the opportunity to go on to careers in those fields, too.  So I’m glad so many organizations are stepping up to support STEM education.  When we invest in our young people, we invest in our future.”

Want to get involved?

  • To find a project to participate in, check out a list of over 1000 projects on SciStarter.
  • To help advance education through citizen science, consider joining (for free) theCitizen Science Association.

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Today’s event will be livestreamed, beginning at approximately 10am:www.whitehouse.gov/live

Follow on Twitter: #WHScienceFair

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