Journal for citizen science to launch in 2015

 A new peer-reviewed journal focusing on advancing the field of citiheader_leftzen science will be making its debut later this year. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice will bring together citizen scientist practitioners, researchers, educators, evaluators and many more in an open-access forum to discuss and share best practices for conceiving, developing, implementing, evaluating and sustaining projects that facilitate public participation in science. The journal is to be published by Ubiquity Press on behalf of the Citizen Science Association.

The journal aims to support citizen science by creating a centralized venue for the exchange of citizen science scholarship across disciplines. The hope is that citizen science will gain greater visibility and that key ideas can be included in the growing organization of academia rather than being shared narrowly among dispersed groups of citizen scientists and their networks.

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Researchers who are conducting projects using citizen science are encouraged to submit their findings to the appropriate discipline-specific journal and to use the keyword “citizen science”.  Through publication scientific findings resulting from citizen science can then reach the scientific audiences in relevant disciplines and help to advance the field.

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Tracking a Changing Climate Workshop Summary

How can Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing play a role in tracking our changing climate?  The Commons Lab collaborated with US Global Climate Research Program and the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science to find out how a system like this could work.  The vision for the sustained National Climate Assessment involves identifying a set of indicators – or physical, ecological, and societal variables – that track climate changes, impacts and responses.  We held a public roundtable (November 18th) and an invitation-only workshop (November 19th) to explore the following questions:

  • Which indicators could benefit from the incorporation of citizen science—10 years from now, five years from now, and today?
  • What existing citizen science projects can be leveraged? Are there opportunities for new uses of citizen science?
  • How can citizen science and indicators be used together to help a range of audiences better understand climate change?
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A graphic recording of the roundtable discussions. (Credit: Emily Cloyd)

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Connecting Grassroots to Government Podcast #4: Kate Starbird

Editor’s note: In September 2012, the Commons Lab hosted the Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management workshop. Over two days, we spoke with a number of event participants for a series of video podcasts covering various aspect of the proceedings. Additional installments will be posted in the coming weeks. The workshop summary report is available here.

We caught up with Kate Starbird at the Digital Grassroots to Government workshop in September 2012 to talk about public engagement during emergency situations.

Starbird, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington and director of the Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation Laboratory, is particularly qualified to tackle this subject considering her work looking at large- and small-scale group online interaction related to mass crises and disasters. In this podcast, Starbird discusses talks the operational and technical challenges to engaging volunteers and the public during emergency situations. Continue reading “Connecting Grassroots to Government Podcast #4: Kate Starbird”

NEW REPORT: Connecting Grassroots and Government for Disaster Response

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Leaders in disaster response are finding it necessary to adapt to a new reality. Although community actions have always been the core of the recovery process, collective action from the grassroots has changed response operations in ways that few would have predicted. Using new tools that interconnect over expanding mobile networks, citizens can exchange information via maps and social media, then mobilize thousands of people to collect, analyze, and act on that information. Sometimes, community-sourced intelligence may be fresher and more accurate than the information given to the responders who provide aid.

The Commons Lab has released Connecting Grassroots and Government for Disaster Response, a new report by Public Policy Scholar John Crowley that explores approaches to the questions that commonly emerge when building an interface between the grassroots and government agencies, with a particular focus on the accompanying legal, policy, and technology challenges.

Also see the companion report from our September 2012 workshop, written by Ryan Burns and Lea Shanley, as well as a series of videos from the workshop and podcasts with workshop participants.

Connecting Grassroots to Government Podcast #2: Will McClintock

Editor’s note: In September 2012, the Commons Lab hosted the Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management workshop. Over two days, we spoke with a number of event participants for a series of video podcasts covering various aspect of the proceedings. Please stay tuned: Additional installments will be posted in the coming weeks and the workshop summary report will be published in September.

We caught up with Will McClintock at the Connecting Grassroots for Disaster Management workshop last year to talk about the future of web-based, collaborative technologies.

McClintock, a project scientist at the University of California-Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute and a senior fellow with the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Center, spoke with us about the current technology developed for decision making, particularly geospatial technology and techniques. He says many of these interfaces are developed without consideration of non-technical decision-makers, further noting that the quickening pace of emerging technology will require faster development in the future and a new way of looking at software.
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