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Citizen Science in practice: activity reports

Analysis of mobile apps fighting the COVID-19 crisis

COVID-19 impacted on the understanding and perception of science, as well as trust in governmental institutions. In this context, Citizen Science increased in importance as far as scientific literacy and education is concerned.

We elaborated and contributed to a series of materials on this topic:

 

The activities on this topic also included a multi-channel approach to monitor and analyse the COVID-19 related mobile applications evolution.

This work on COVID-19-related apps improved our understanding on this dynamic landscape and provided a particular angle on how technology is used for governance in a crisis situation, implying the need to address legal and ethical considerations.

The Spreading and Scaling of Citizen Science

Powered by a series of digital transformations over the past decade, citizens are increasingly becoming one of the major providers of knowledge and data. But we know arguably little about all the data flows surrounding us, as well as about its potentials and threads, which leave several relevant research questions unanswered and advocate for ethical consideration to be taken into account.

There is a need to closely investigate the impact of technologies and especially their potential role in the uptake of Citizen Science approaches at different geographic scales.

Best Practices in Citizen Science for Environmental Monitoring

A growing number of citizens worldwide are getting involved in collecting and reporting scientific information and observations about their surroundings through citizen science initiatives. Many of these projects are producing valuable data about environmental phenomena.

The work on this area, in collaboration with the European Environment Agency, summarizes the opportunities and benefits of using citizen science for environmental monitoring, highlights good practices and lessons learnt, and identifies the obstacles preventing its broader uptake.

It also puts forward recommendations and possible actions for the various actors in the field (public authorities, citizen science networks and communities, researchers/academics) to facilitate and enhance the use of citizen science in environmental monitoring.

Legitimizing the use of Citizen Generated Data

Citizen Sensing is increasingly considered as a source of evidence in (environmental) litigation. Furthermore, it has often been regarded as a tool to mediate the environmental conflict and restore broken or damaged trust relations between citizens, the government and eventually the private actor.

The ‘Sensing for Justice’ project (SensJus), kicked off in June 2020, aims at filling a knowledge gap and provide newly required research capacity in the EU. Its network rapidly expanded, with supporters and advisors from the U.S. to Japan to Africa and a considerable media attention.

This work lies at the intersection between the use of data and technology, as well as governance, trust and ethics. Work is carried out at the interface of data use and governance – with a focus on peoples’ rights and claims and also drawing on collaborations with JRC colleagues from other teams on the topic.