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Citizens, Scientists, and Enablers: A Tripartite Model for Citizen Science Projects
journal contributionposted on 28.07.2021, 10:32 by Rhian SalmonRhian Salmon, Samuel Rammell, Myfanwy T Emeny, Stephen HartleyStephen Hartley
In this paper, we focus on different roles in citizen science projects, and their respective relationships. We propose a tripartite model that recognises not only citizens and scientists, but also an important third role, which we call the ‘enabler’. In doing so, we acknowledge that additional expertise and skillsets are often present in citizen science projects, but are frequently overlooked in associated literature. We interrogate this model by applying it to three case studies and explore how the success and sustainability of a citizen science project requires all roles to be acknowledged and interacting appropriately. In this era of ‘wicked problems’, the nature of science and science communication has become more complex. In order to address critical emerging issues, a greater number of stakeholders are engaging in multi-party partnerships and research is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. Within this context, explicitly acknowledging the role and motivations of everyone involved can provide a framework for enhanced project transparency, delivery, evaluation and impact. By adapting our understanding of citizen science to better recognise the complexity of the organisational systems within which they operate, we propose an opportunity to strengthen the collaborative delivery of both valuable scientific research and public engagement.