In Citizen Science, Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, News and Events on March 6, 2014 at 8:37 am
Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons/Library of Congress
Imagine a world where all people are able to understand, value and participate in science. This is the vision that inspires the Citizen Science Association (CSA), an emerging organization that will support organizers advancing scientific research that involves the public. It isn’t so hard to do. There are many prominent ornithological programs that engage bird watchers in research. These are not the only ones. There have been many scientific contributions of amateur astronomers. These are not the only ones. Right now, you could look at almost any scientific discipline, and if you look deeply enough and carefully enough you’re going to see some aspects of citizen science happening.
As announced at a February 16th AAAS meeting:
“The CSA is offering free inaugural membership for 2014 to grow, unite, and guide this global community of practice focused on public participation in citizen science. The CSA recognizes all forms of citizen science and focuses on building the community of practice involving those who organize volunteers. Whether organizers are scientists, educators, data managers, technology specialists, evaluators, or enthusiastic volunteers, the CSA welcomes those who want to benefit form a network based on the diverse practices of citizen science.”
The work of building the association is just beginning. While four committees have begun to coordinate planning, the CSA is soliciting the involvement and leadership of future members. Membership requires no financial contribution at this point, and people receive complementary membership by completing a short survey. According to the CSA, this survey will help the association understand the diverse needs, interests and expertise of the citizen science community; gauge the energy, initiative and commitment to CSA activities; and inspire potential funders.
In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, News and Events on February 24, 2014 at 11:16 am
With 4,464 votes, Vincent van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers (1890) was the most popular painting selected for the crowdsourced exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Photo credit: Open Source
Visitors to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts recently stepped into the role of curator by voting on their favorite Impressionist artwork for inclusion in an exhibit called “Boston Loves Impressionism.” Amanda Beland, a reporter for Boston Public Radio’s show “You Are Here,” covered the exhibition’s opening as part of a Feb. 9 segment dedicated to crowdsourcing and citizen science. For the show, Beland interviewed Anne Bowser, a research assistant at the Commons Lab, to better understand the motivations of volunteers who contribute to crowdsourcing projects.
Bowser explained that volunteer motivation is complex and changes over time. “At least initially, citizen science is usually connected to people’s existing hobbies,” she said. “So for example, somebody may start monitoring avian populations because they have a birdfeeder in their backyard and they like to look at birds. And then different motivations come into play as people continue, or look at different projects, or transform their participation from just gathering data, to doing some form of analysis or interpretation, or posing new questions with data sets, or becoming project leaders.”
Check out the full segment on Beland’s Soundcloud page.
In Commons Lab, Crowdsourcing, Governance on February 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm
source: Wikimedia Commons
A new bill in the House is raising some key questions about how crowdsourcing is understood by scientists, government agencies, policymakers and the public at large.
Robin Bravender’s recent article in Environment & Energy Daily, “House Republicans Push Crowdsourcing on Agency Science,” (subscription required) neatly summarizes the debate around H.R. 4012, a bill introduced to the House of Representatives earlier this month. The House Science, Space and Technology Committe earlier this week held a hearing on the bill, which could see a committee vote as early as next month.
Dubbed the “Secret Science Reform Act of 2014,” the bill prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from “proposing, finalizing, or disseminating regulations or assessments based upon science that is not transparent or reproducible.” If the bill is passed, EPA would be unable to base assessments or regulations on any information not “publicly available in a manner that is sufficient for independent analysis.” This would include all information published in scholarly journals based on data that is not available as open source.