STSM: Citizen Social Science - Co-evaluation of citizen science projects by Anna Cigarini

Anna Cigarini Department de Fisica de la Materia Condensada, University of Barcelona (Spain) | January 7th to January 11th 2019 | 5 Days
Host: Dr. Katja Mayer
Hostinstitution: ZSI - Zentrum für Soziale Innovation (Vienna, Austria)
Citizen Social Science: Co-evaluation of citizen social science projects


Despite the vast potential of citizen science, citizens are mainly passivized into acting as mere social sensors, or data producers, but not data owners or advocates in their own right. Broadening the role and scope of citizens engagement from data production to a more systemic participation in research design, analysis, and interpretation is necessary for the creation of robust social scientific knowledge. In this respect, we see the emerging field of Citizen Social Science (CSS), which builds on several traditions, from traditional citizen science, computational social science to participatory action research, as a valuable opportunity to critically discuss participatory approaches for meaningful engagement with the research and civic mobilization aiming at legal or political influence. We understand citizen social science as a form of participatory social research that directly involves selected communities or public spheres in the social science research process (including research design) with the aim of creating knowledge for decision making and tools to intervene and monitor decision making processes. Yet, the notion of citizen social science, despite its growing attractive power, still require a thorough exploration and clear formulation.
Recent debates around the sustainability of citizen engagement also point to the need of a systematic comparative framework for the evaluation and impact estimation of participatory processes. Developing guidelines for outcome assessment of open citizen science initiatives can promote and improve evidence-based policy and community-based action for tackling pressing societal challenges.

Purpose of the STSM

The objective of the STSM was to examine the alignment of the monitoring process of the project BiblioLab - Science in Action with an open framework for evaluating citizen science activities developed by the Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI - Vienna, Austria), and to identify a set of indicators for articulating its impact assessment.
BiblioLab - Science in Action is a citizen science project that builds on the collaboration between OpenSystems (University of Barcelona, Barcelona - Spain) and the Management of Library Services of the Barcelona Deputation (Catalunya, Spain). The objective of the project is the co-creation of a social research within three libraries of Catalunya (Spain). Throughout the project, the librarians and their communities of users, local associations and administrations, will design and run an experiment to collect data and address a specific local concern.