Purpose and topics

Citizen Science has been defined as « public participation in scientific research ». It is an increasingly important field involving thousands of volunteers who practice « scientific activities », collect scientific data and disseminate scientific information without being « officially scientists ».

The presence of citizen science impacts naturally public policies since it enhances the capacity of any single citizen to be involved in the construction of evidence (about potential policies), and increases participation, data availability and monitoring.

At the same time citizen science is an important challenge both in terms of theory and practice of public decision making. Questions about citizen science occur however.

  • How reliable are data collected through citizen science networks?
  • How can this data be used to produce evidence?
  • How can this data be merged with other sources of evidence?
  • How can citizen science projects become more collaborative in problem formulation, data collection, and analysis?
  • What is the impact on participants in terms of their interest in science?

The workshop aims at opening a discussion among scientists from different perspectives (computer scientists, mathematics modelers, policy scientists, philosophers etc.) on topics including:

  • challenges deriving from distributed scientific production;
  • participation processes structures;
  • uncertainty and reliability of citizen science data;
  • collecting, using and distributing citizen science data;
  • information and knowledge sharing;
  • use of citizen knowledge in policy making processes
  • decision support within participative contexts;
  • ways to make citizen science projects more collaborative;
  • ways in which citizen science can support smart city initiatives;
  • ways in which citizen science can contribute to sustainable human environments;

The idea for this workshop arose from a workshop on Sustainable Human Environments as part of the  Mathematics of Planet Earth2013+ initiative.

The workshop was heavily devoted to the use of data in smart cities and there was considerable discussion of how important ordinary citizens were in contributing data that would lead to decisions aimed at making human environments more livable, more resilient, and more sustainable. This will be an important sub theme of the workshop.