Citizen science communication – theory and new concepts

Citizen science communication – theory and new concepts

Author: Susanne Hecker – Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Germany

Rachel Kelly – Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Bruce L. Lewenstein – Dep. of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University, US
Victoria Martin – Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University, U.S.A.
Bernard Schiele – Faculty of Communication, University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada

“Citizen science is one of the most dramatic developments in science communication in the last generation.” Bruce V. Lewenstein (Lewenstein, 2016)

Citizen science and science communication are both relatively young and highly inter- and transdisciplinary fields of research (Gascoigne et al., 2010; Jordan, Crall, Gray, Phillips, & Mellor, 2015). This symposium is a first cut to explore how the respective underlying concepts intertwine in theory and practice, and brings together researchers of both fields.

Following Lewenstein’s quote, we need to ask: how does citizen science contribute to the dramatic development of science communication? What is new and innovative about it? How does citizen science touch issues like identity, democracy, scientific citizenship or social license? Undeniably, science communication in citizen science has moved from a one-way communication towards a multi-directional exchange (Trench, 2006). But how can we characterise this two-way-exchange?

From a citizen science perspective, we ask: What opportunities does science communication provide for citizen science activities beyond outreach? How can science communication empower all those involved in citizen science for enhanced exchange and reasoning? To what extent does citizen science communication intersect with formal and informal science education? Where does citizen science meet other concepts like e.g. social license? Citizen science and the process of engaging stakeholders and participants both need adequate flexibility, since dialogue and interaction might develop in unforeseen ways and need appropriate translation processes. At the same time, citizen science opens up space for learning, innovation and development.

The aim of this session is to investigate the synthesis and innovative potential of citizen science and science communication. We want to raise issues looking at theory and at best practice of citizen science communication and how we can help enhance dialogue and convergence in both disciplines, so they can continue to cross-fertilise.

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Grouped paper
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Building a theoretical basis for science communication