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The Rise of Citizen Science: Rethinking Public Participation in Science

English title The Rise of Citizen Science: Rethinking Public Participation in Science
Applicant Strasser Bruno
Number 157787
Funding scheme Temporary Backup Schemes
Research institution Euresearch Genève Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline General history (without pre-and early history)
Start/End 01.11.2015 - 31.10.2020
Approved amount 1'472'790.00
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Keywords (9)

Citizen Science; Science and Technology Studies; Science and Society; Public Participation; Expertise; Prosopography; History of Science; Life Sciences; Digital Humanities

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
L’essor des sciences citoyennes constitue une transformation historique profonde des relations entre sciences et société. Le public est aujourd'hui invité à participer à la production du savoir scientifique, et plus seulement à des délibérations sur les contenus scientifiques produis par les experts. La participation du public promet d’atteindre, en même temps, plusieurs objectifs scientifiques, éducatifs, et politiques. Les sciences citoyennes rendraient possible des études, notamment sur l'environnement, à grande échelle, elles permettrait au public de mieux comprendre le fonctionnement de la science, et assurerait une plus grande démocratisation de la science.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche 

The projet “The Rise of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Public Participation in Science” propose la première étude historique approfondie de cette transformation des rapports entre science et société. La participation publique à la science a été très commune à diverses périodes dans le passé et s’est déployée selon des formes sociales très varriés, depuis les naturalistes Victoriens, aux astronomes amateurs, ou aux bricoleurs de radios et d’appareils électroniques. Ce projet examinera cette diversité, en Europe, aux Etats-Unis, et en Asie, en examinant en détails divers projets de sciences citoyennes. Il propose aussi la première biographie collective des millions de personnes à travers le monde qui participent à des projets de sciences citoyennes, afin de mieux comprendre leurs motivations, leurs représentations, et les effets de leur participation sur leur statut de citoyens. Une des hypothèses clés de ce travail est que les sciences citoyennes représentent une transformation particulièrement radicale pour les sciences expérimentales, qui ont été, bien plus que les sciences naturalistes, tenues à l’écart du public. Une autre hypothèse est que les sciences citoyennes, représentent une nouvelle tentative de légitimation de la science face à un public toujours plus critique face aux savoirs experts.

 Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche

Les études sur la participation publique dans les sciences se sont concentrées jusqu’ici sur les dispositifs délibératifs qui impliquaient les citoyens dans des discussions ou des décisions sur des sujets technologiques ou scientifiques. Ce projet porte sur la participation des citoyens dans la production des connaissances. Il fait appel à des nouvelles méthodes des “digital humanities”. Plus largement, il s’inscrit dans la redéfinition de l’expertise et l’essor de la participation des amateurs à la production culturelle notamment par la musique, la photographie ou le journalisme.

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 07.09.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Big Data Is the Answer ... But What Is the Question?
Strasser Bruno J., Edwards Paul N. (2017), Big Data Is the Answer ... But What Is the Question?, in OSIRIS, 32(1), 328-345.
Experiential Knowledge, Public Participation, and the Challenge to the Authority of Science in the 1970s
Strasser Bruno J., Mahr Dana (2017), Experiential Knowledge, Public Participation, and the Challenge to the Authority of Science in the 1970s.
Self-Reporting and Participatory Health Platforms: Empowerment through Sharing Information about Oneself Online?
Mahr Dana (2017), Self-Reporting and Participatory Health Platforms: Empowerment through Sharing Information about Oneself Online?.
Four things Twitter tells us about “Citizen Science” (and 1,000 things it doesn’t)
Tancoigne Elise (2017), Four things Twitter tells us about “Citizen Science” (and 1,000 things it doesn’t).
Körperliche Selbstermächtigung aus dem 3D-Drucker? Feministische Kulturen als ‚Parallelwelten’ und der Kampf um gesellschaftliche Teilhabe seit 1970
Mahr Dana and Livia Prüll (2017), Körperliche Selbstermächtigung aus dem 3D-Drucker? Feministische Kulturen als ‚Parallelwelten’ und der Kampf um gesellschaftliche Teilhabe seit 1970, in Kybernetik, Kapitalismus, Revolutionen. Emanzipatorische Perspektiven im technologischen Wandel, 161-190.
Narrating Genes. How Patients with Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Interpret an Emerging Disease Etiology and How we can make Sense out of it by Developing a Historically and Sociologically Inform
Mahr Dana (2017), Narrating Genes. How Patients with Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Diseases Interpret an Emerging Disease Etiology and How we can make Sense out of it by Developing a Historically and Sociologically Inform, in A History of Human Genetics, 325-336.
The “Data-Deluge”: Turning Private Data into Public Archives
Strasser Bruno J. (2017), The “Data-Deluge”: Turning Private Data into Public Archives, in Daston Lorraine (ed.), 185-202.
Towards a Genealogy of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing. 3/ Crowds and the Great Fear of 1789
Baudry Jérôme (2016), Towards a Genealogy of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing. 3/ Crowds and the Great Fear of 1789.
Towards a Genealogy of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing. 2/ Le Bon’s Crowd and the Birth of Sociology
Baudry Jérôme (2016), Towards a Genealogy of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing. 2/ Le Bon’s Crowd and the Birth of Sociology.
Towards a Genealogy of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing. 1/ Introduction
Baudry Jérôme (2016), Towards a Genealogy of the Crowd in Crowdsourcing. 1/ Introduction, Citizensciences.net Blog, Geneva.
Mapping the literature
Tancoigne Elise (2016), Mapping the literature.
The Lived Genome
Rehmann-Sutter Christoph and Dana Mahr (2016), The Lived Genome, in Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities, 87-103.
“Citizen Science”? Rethinking Science and Public Participation
Strasser Bruno J., Baudry Jérôme, Mahr Dana, Sanchez Gabriela, Tancoigne Elise, “Citizen Science”? Rethinking Science and Public Participation, in Science & Technology Studies.
Citizen science beyond invited participation. Lessons for today from a historical perspective
Mahr Dana, Citizen science beyond invited participation. Lessons for today from a historical perspective, in Science, Technology, & Human Values.
Mikrobiomisches Empowerment. Sind DIY Stuhltransplantationen ein Weg zu mehr gesundheitspraktischer Selbstwirksamkeit für PatientInnen mit chronischen Darmerkrankungen?
Mahr Dana, Mikrobiomisches Empowerment. Sind DIY Stuhltransplantationen ein Weg zu mehr gesundheitspraktischer Selbstwirksamkeit für PatientInnen mit chronischen Darmerkrankungen?, in Personal Health Science.
Mimicking Science or Empowering Critical Actors. The Central Role of Participation in Citizen Science
Mahr Dana Pettibone Lisa, Mimicking Science or Empowering Critical Actors. The Central Role of Participation in Citizen Science, in Science & Technology Studies.
Watching or Being Watched. Enhancing productive discussion between the citizen sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities
Mahr Dana, Watching or Being Watched. Enhancing productive discussion between the citizen sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, in Citizen Science – Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
BioMaterial CoLab Talk given at a conference BioDesign in the Anthropocene 06.12.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland Sanchez Gabriela;
Plenary Lecture, History of Science Society Annual Meeting Talk given at a conference Kitchens, Garages,
and Basements: Relocating Science, Expertise, and Domesticity 09.11.2017 Toronto, Canada Strasser Bruno;
Conference on Democracy and Participation in the 21st Century Talk given at a conference Innovation by the People 12.07.2017 Lisbonne, Portugal Sanchez Gabriela;
LERU Summer School Talk given at a conference The Rise of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Public Participation in Science 10.07.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Geneva/Göteborg Workshop on Citizen Science Talk given at a conference From Crowd to Community. A Study of Three Citizen Science Online Platform 01.07.2017 Genève, Switzerland Baudry Jérôme; Tancoigne Elise;
Geneva/Göteborg Workshop on Citizen Science Talk given at a conference Critical Studies of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Science and Public Participation 01.07.2017 Genève, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Conférence Sciences en Questions Talk given at a conference Repenser le Big Data: Collectionneurs, Expérimentateurs, Citoyens 26.06.2017 Paris, France Strasser Bruno;
Congrès de la Société Suisse de Sociologie Talk given at a conference From Crowd to Community. A Study of Three Citizen Science Online Platform 23.06.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Tancoigne Elise; Baudry Jérôme;
Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation et Société, Annual Retreat. Talk given at a conference « Citizen science » ? Foules en ligne et production des savoirs 12.06.2017 Marseille, France Baudry Jérôme; Tancoigne Elise;
Biofabbing Conference Talk given at a conference Biofabbing: Fabrications and Fabulations 10.05.2017 Genève, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Enjeux politiques et culturels des mises en scène des sciences Individual talk Science, Democracy, and 
the Pursuit of Aliens 27.04.2017 Paris, France Strasser Bruno;
School of Life Sciences Conferences Individual talk Big Data is the Answer, but...
What is the Question? 10.04.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Kulturwissenschaftlichen Kolloquiums zur Wissenschafts- und Wissensgeschichte Individual talk The Rise of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Public Participation in Science 28.03.2017 Lucerne, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Critical Studies of Citizen Science in Biomedical Research Talk given at a conference Our Digital Bodies, Our Digital Selvles? 02.03.2017 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mahr Dana; Strasser Bruno;
Séminaire R Talk given at a conference Collecter des données Twitter avec R 07.02.2017 Genève, Switzerland Tancoigne Elise;
STSLab Conference Individual talk The Rise of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Public Participation in Science 14.12.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Studying Citizen Science Workshop Talk given at a conference Critical Studies of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Science and Public Participation 08.12.2016 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Strasser Bruno;
Studying Citizen Science Workshop Talk given at a conference Who are the Citizen Scientists ? A Big Data Study of 3 Million Volunteers 08.12.2016 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Baudry Jérôme; Strasser Bruno; Piguet Steven; Tancoigne Elise;
Séminaire du département de philosophie ENS Individual talk La science pour tous? Repenser les sciences et la participation publique 17.11.2016 Paris, France Strasser Bruno;
Innauguration of the Competence Center for Citizen Science Zürich Individual talk Better Science Through Citizens? Rethinking Public Participation in Science 14.10.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Medicine and the Other: The Issue of Difference in Medical Knowledge and Practice of the 19th and 20th Centuries Talk given at a conference The Speculum of Wonder Women. The long lasting decolonisation of women's bodies in the 1970s and today 07.10.2016 Mainz, Germany Mahr Dana;
Annual Meeting | Society for Social Studies of Science Talk given at a conference Who are the citizen scientists? Public participation in distributed computing 03.09.2016 Barcelona, Spain Tancoigne Elise; Piguet Steven; Baudry Jérôme; Strasser Bruno;
L'Open Access dans les carrières académiques Talk given at a conference Cinquante Nuances d'Open 01.09.2016 Genève, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
BioDesign Night Talk given at a conference Feminism as a Tool for BioDesign 22.07.2016 Paris, France Sanchez Gabriela;
Personal Health Science. Persönliches Gesundheitswissen zwischen Selbstsorge und Bürgerforschung Talk given at a conference Ko-Produktion von Wissensbeständen in der Entzündungsforschung 22.07.2016 Hamburg, Germany Mahr Dana;
Studying Citizen Science Workshop Talk given at a conference Self-Reporting: Production, discussion, and dissemination of knowledge in social health networks 22.07.2016 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mahr Dana;
Institute of Gender Studies Talk given at a conference Magic Bullets and Wonder Pills: Making Drugs and Desires 16.06.2016 Genève, Australia Strasser Bruno;
Die Zukunft der Prognose Talk given at a conference Diagnose vs. Prognose: Zur Subjektivierung genetischer Risikoeinschätzung 11.06.2016 Zürich, Switzerland Mahr Dana;
IKKM Lab Individual talk The Politics of Smart Mobs and Wise Crowds 01.05.2016 Weimar, Germany Baudry Jérôme;
CAS Forschungsmanagement Individual talk The Rise of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Public Participation in Science 27.04.2016 Bern, Switzerland Strasser Bruno;
Citizen Science in Historical Perspective Talk given at a conference The Rise of the Citizen Sciences: Rethinking Public Participation in Science19.2.2016 19.02.2016 Berlin, Germany Strasser Bruno;
Perspectives for the History of Life Sciences: New Themes, New Sources, New Approaches Individual talk Collecting, Comparing, Computing: Rethinking the Data Deluge 01.01.2016 Münich, Germany Strasser Bruno;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Advanced Training Workshop, “Um klar zu sehen, Talk 20.09.2017 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Geneva-Tsingua Summer School Talk 17.07.2017 Geneva, Switzerland
CAS Medical Informatics Talk 20.04.2017 Geneva, Switzerland
SciComm 1: Mycology Mixer and DIYbiology Talk 17.04.2017 San Francisco, United States of America
Stiftung Wissenschaftliche Politikstipendien Alumni-Veranstaltung Talk 08.02.2017 Bern, Switzerland
Swiss Science and Innovation Council Meeting Talk 23.01.2017 Bern, Switzerland


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television CQFD - "Bruno J. Strasser: L’open science" RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television La Matinale - Bruno J. Strasser: La personnalité des scientifiques: Prix Nobel de chimie RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Le 19h30 - "Bruno J. Strasser: Le nuage de pollution d’Internet" RTS Television Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Le Journal du matin - Bruno J. Strasser: Comment réagir face à une science qui croît toujours plus v RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2017
Media relations: radio, television Couleurs d’été - "Bruno J. Strasser: Rencontre" RTS Television Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television Couleurs d’été - "Participation publique et changement climatique" RTS Television Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television CQFD - Bruno J. Strasser: La science participative RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television CQFD - Bruno J. Strasser: Un Suisse sur 4 doute de la théorie de l’évolution RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television L’Invité de la rédaction - Bruno J. Strasser: Le XXIe siècle sera celui de la science participative! RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television Le 12h45 - "Bruno J. Strasser: La santé s’impose sur réseaux sociaux" RTS Télévision Western Switzerland 2016
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) citizensciences.net Twitter International 2015
Media relations: radio, television CQFD - "Bruno J. Strasser: Gros plan sur la science citoyennes" RTS Radio Western Switzerland 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Rethinking Science and Public Participation International 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
166345 Promoting Knowledge. The Origins of the Science System and the Making of Professional Structures in European States, 1700-1870 01.06.2016 Project funding (Div. I-III)
180350 Development of Personalized Health in Switzerland: Social Sciences Perpectives 01.01.2019 Sinergia

Abstract

The emergence of the citizen science movement in the late 20th century represents one of the most significant historical transformations in the relationships between science and society in modern times. In contrast to other recent forms of public participation in science, which focused on involving non-experts in deliberative procedures (consensus conferences, etc.), the citizen science movement promises to include citizens in the production of reliable scientific knowledge.This project proposes the first in-depth historical study of the emergence of citizen science, in Europe and the United States, since the 1970s, focusing on the experimental life sciences, especially “big data” biology. This project will achieve this ambitious aim by constituting an interdisciplinary team of researchers, collaborating with other scholars in Europe and the United States, and working closely with an advisory board of world-leading scholars: Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard; Dan Kevles, Yale; Helga Nowotny, ETH Zurich; Dominique Pestre, EHESS, Paris; and Jakob Tanner, Universität Zürich. The historical narrative will be based on a wide variety of primary sources, including scientific publications and popular media; websites, discussion forums, and online blogs; and oral histories conducted with citizen science organizers and participants. Using cutting-edge methods from the digital humanities will allow us to exploit the rich historical material collected from online communities. Specifically, by examining three types of citizen sciences projects in detail - distributed computing, crowdsourcing, and do-it-yourself science - we will analyze how these projects construct specific visions of “global” citizenship, “amateur” participation, and “orthodox” science.Taking a larger perspective, the project will offer the first collective biography of citizen science organizers and participants, from over one hundred projects. All the data from this prosopographical study, as well as the primary and secondary sources, will be integrated in an online relational database made available on a dedicated website: www.riseofcitizenscience.eu. It will constitute a powerful research instrument for our team, other scholars, and citizen science organizers.The historical perspective adopted for this study will provide a novel interpretation of the transformation of public participation in science, from the 19th century to the present. Although the current level and type of public participation in science is often presented as unprecedented, at various periods in the past it was far more common than today. From Victorian naturalists to amateur astronomers, the forms of public participation have been extremely diverse. By comparing and contrasting current forms with well-studied examples from the past, this project will highlight the historical significance of the current citizen science movement.The main historical hypothesis is that citizen science projects with an experimental emphasis represent the most radical transformation in the relationship between science and society. These studies reconnect experimental sciences with the broader public from which it has been divorced since the late 19th century, unlike the naturalist-oriented activities that have continuously relied on amateurs. A further hypothesis is that the emergence of citizen science is less a result of a technological change (internet and social media) or the need to “educate” citizens, than of a quest to increase the legitimacy of science amongst a lay public. This project will thus not only contribute to a fuller understanding of citizen science, but also to the rise of the “amateur” and the redefinition of expertise in a democratic society.
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