Citizens participate in all stages of the scientific process.
Citizen science includes projects designed by scientists in which citizens participate in the collection of data (contributory projects), projects structured by scientists in which citizens have opportunities and tools to participate in the design of the project, the collection of data and its analysis (collaborative projects), and projects in which citizens participate in all stages of the scientific process (co-created projects). Such projects are designed to advance society’s understanding of the environment, ecosystem services, or environmental risks, and often involve citizens in conservation and improvements in environmental health. The benefits, therefore, are shared between the scientific community and the general public.
Citizens' messages are transmitted from the bottom-up in different ways. Centralized systems use communication technologies such as mobile applications, or on the other hand citizens may get in contact with environmental managers and researchers. The implications of this are more than merely technological: they constitute a de facto increase in societal empowerment which can lead to changes in governance models, especially in the field of environmental policies. Despite the youth of these programs at CREAF, we have already shown that citizen science can be used to set up early warning systems, environmental management systems, or even the collaborative drafting of climate change adaptation strategies.
- Improvement of citizen participation: We develop new methodologies that increase the participation of citizens, fostering participation as a habit and maintaining interest in the short and long term.
- Moving beyond species observations: We create products that go beyond species observations, including data from sensors, experiments, or other scientific disciplines such as geology or geography.
- Data quality: We create systems based on artificial intelligence algorithms to ensure the quality of the data taken in citizen science projects.
- Interoperability: We develop systems and languages that allow interoperability between different citizen science platforms or projects.
- Participatory activities: We organize participatory activities with the general public which are designed to complement decision-making and improve communication between the scientific sphere and society.
- Communication plans: We draft targeted communication plans for citizen science projects which emphasize the creation and maintenance of active and participatory user communities.
- Governance models: We develop new governance models associated with civic participation models.
- Predictive models: We create predictive models employing data from citizen science, or even combining scientific and citizen science data. Examples include epidemiological risk models.
- Education sector: We adapt and develop citizen science projects for education.