Citizen Participation in the Biological Sciences: A Literature Review of
Citizen Science
• Data growth and data management...
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CCI32 - Citizen Participation in the Biological Sciences: A Literature Review of Citizen Science


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CCI32 - Citizen Participation in the Biological Sciences: A Literature Review of Citizen Science

  1. 1. Citizen Participation in the Biological Sciences: A Literature Review of Citizen Science • Data growth and data management: the amount of information needed to monitor large geographic or temporal scales is limited by cost. Citizen science offers one alternative to manage these costs. • Connect science to the public: participation by the public in science helps to increase the awareness and understanding of scientific process and policy. • Fourth paradigm science: data intensive scientific discovery depends upon distributed sensors and distributed analysts. Citizen science can fulfill both these functions. (Bonney et al., 2009; Gray, 2009; Trumbull et al., 2000) Importance Todd Suomela and Erica Johns School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee Background "Citizen science [is the participation] of the general public in scientific research" (Couvet et al., 2008) Two trends, the growth of data and the availability of the internet, have enabled professional scientists to recruit amateur scientists to collect and analyze data. Recruiting citizens to do science may improve science communication and understanding. Biological sciences have been rapid adopters of citizen science, especially areas of study that require field observations from large geographic and temporal scales. The current study is a literature review of scientific papers and projects that have focused on the biological sciences. Major scholarly databases, Web of Science and Google Scholar, were searched for terms related to citizen science and biology. The results show the growth of citizen science as a term to refer to scientific projects and the concentration of many of these projects in environmental biology. Growth of Citizen Science A search of Web of Science for the phrase “citizen science” in December 2011 returned the following results which show the growth of citizen science over the past decade. Results and Comparisons Conclusions Growth of citizen science: the results from Web of Science show a growing interest in the term citizen science over the last decade. Primary adoption is happening in the environmental sciences before other biological sciences. The reasons for this are unclear at the moment but may be due to the cost of participation, the ability of work to be divided among a citizen participants, the institutional structures of different disciplines, or other unknown factors. Further research is needed to resolve this question. The primary concern for most scientists is assuring the quality of data collected by citizen scientists. A majority of the papers reviewed addressed this issue or raised it as a serious concern. So far citizen scientists appear to be able to collect reliable data given the appropriate training and support. References Bonney, R., Cooper, C. B., Dickinson, J., Kelling, S., Phillips, T., Rosenberg, K. V., & Shirk, J. (2009). Citizen Science: A Developing Tool for Expanding Science Knowledge and Scientific Literacy. Bioscience, 59(11), 977–984. doi: Couvet, D., Jiguet, F., Julliard, R., Levrel, H., & Teyssedre, A. (2008). Enhancing citizen contributions to biodiversity science and public policy. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 33(1), 95–103. doi: Gray, J. (2009). Jim Gray on eScience: A transformed scientific method. In T. Hey, S. Tansley, & K. Tolle (Eds.), The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Research. Retrieved from us/collaboration/fourthparadigm/default.aspx National Science Foundation (2012). Organizational Chart, Directorate of Biological Sciences. Retrieved on February 25, 2012 Trumbull, D. J., Bonney, R., Bascom, D., & Cabral, A. (2000). Thinking scientifically during participation in a citizen-science project. Science Education, 84(2), 265–275. Complete References Available Upon Request Recommendations Future research should focus on the benefits of citizen science to both researchers and participants; investigate the differences between lab and field sciences; correlate different terminologies across disciplines in order to compare citizen participation. 9 8 8 7 6 6 5 3 Represented Disciplines Insects and pollinators Avian Invasive species Horticulture Marine Phenology Wildlife Ecosystems Biological Sciences Environmental Biology Ecosystem Science Evolutionary Processes Population and Community Ecology Systematics and Biodiversity Science Organismal Systems Behavioral Systems Developmental Systems Neural Systems Physiological and Structural Systems Plant Genome Molecular and Cellular Biomolecular Dynamics, Structure and Function Cellular Processes Genetic Mechanisms Networks and Regulation Acknowledgements We would like to thank Dr. Suzie Allard, and Dr. Carol Tenopir for their guidance and support. Funding for ScienceLinks2 and DCERC (Digital Curation Education in Research Centers) is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (National Science Foundation, 2012)