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Citizen Science

Advancing Citizen Science for Seas and Ocean Research

Background 

Citizen Science involves members of the public in the observation, analysis and eventually also the design of scientific research. Benefits of this approach include enhancing monitoring capability, empowering citizens and increasing environmental awareness. There is a long background and history of citizen participation in science. However, the process of studying and understanding the best ways to develop, implement, and evaluate citizen science is just beginning and it has recently been proposed that research on the process and outcomes of citizen science merit acknowledgement as a distinct discipline.

At present, citizen science is predominantly associated with terrestrial projects. However, citizen science also has the potential to make significant contributions to marine sciences. Considering the vastness of the ocean, the extensiveness of the coastlines, and the diversity of habitats, communities, and species, a proper understanding of this realm requires intensive research activities over time and space which should lead to an increased consideration of citizen science as a powerful tool for the generation of scientific knowledge. Additionally, citizen science initiatives should be promoted because of their benefits in creating awareness of the challenges facing the world’s ocean and increasing ocean literacy.

Responding to these challenges, the European Marine Board has launched Working Group Citizen Science to provide new ideas and directions for further development of marine citizen science.

Working Group Objectives

  • Identify common factors of success in citizen science programmes.
  • Assess the types of marine data that are amenable to collection or analysis by non-specialists.
  • Provide recommendations on best practice for incorporating citizen science into marine research projects, e.g. how to engage citizens and keep them engaged and how to best meet the expectations of both citizens and scientists.
  • Based on the findings, provide overall recommendations for marine research that is most suitable for citizen science, provide new ideas and directions for marine citizen science and outline what is needed to support citizen science in a marine context into the future.

Members: 

see the list here

Meetings 

Kick-off meeting, 18-19 February 2016, Oostende
2nd meeting, 2-3 June 2016, Galway 

WG contact at Marine Board Secretariat: Paula Kellett Email and Niall McDonough Email