Scaling up Citizen Science
The recent technology advancements have significantly contributed to facilitating access to information to individuals, increasing the opportunities they have to participate in both policy and scientific research. At the same time, as it is highlighted by Sven Schade, Scientific Project Manager at the Digital Economy Unit of the European Commission, the continuous digital transformation, where new technologies impact people’s lives more than ever before, increases the need of data and scientific literacy in order to cope with issues, such as infringements of privacy and the spread of disinformation.
Creating a more scientifically aware and literate society is one of the goals of REINFORCE, and Citizen Science is an effective means of achieving it. Through an active participation, citizens will be able to cure misconceptions about science and its mission, to analyse data, to propose research questions, ideas and solutions, to directly converse with specialist scientists and to achieve a measurable and recognized impact in their work.
However, there is little evidence on how to foster the spread and scalability in Citizen Science. Aiming to address this issue, Dr Giovanni Maccani, Margriet Goossensen, Dr Valeria Righi, Javier Creus, and Dr Mara Balestrini recently released a publication titled “Scaling up Citizen Science: What are the factors associated with increased reach and how to lever them to achieve impact”, where they developed a theoretically grounded framework to unbundle the meaning of scaling and spreading in Citizen Science, illustrating four qualitative case studies of successful examples of scaling and spreading in Citizen Science, in order to validate, enrich, and instantiate such framework.
The researchers formulated four theoretically and empirically grounded scaling scenarios, with the hope to stimulate future research to further refine our understanding of these important, complex and multifaceted phenomena.