About CS Track project

The aim of CS Track is to broaden our knowledge about Citizen Science and the impact Citizen Science activities can have. CS Track will do this by investigating a large and diverse set of Citizen Science activities, disseminating good practices and formulating knowledge-based policy recommendations in order to maximise the potential benefit of Citizen Science activities on individual citizens, organisations, and society at large.

CS Track is broadening our knowledge about Citizen Science by investigating Citizen Science activities, disseminating good practices and formulating knowledge-based policy recommendations to maximise the potential benefit of Citizen Science activities on individual citizens, organisations, and society at large.  Read more about our research approach.

Project Goals

Investigate a large number of Citizen Science activities

CS Track will observe and carry out analyses on a large number of different citizen science activities in order to increase knowledge about what makes such activities successful in response to a given set of research questions.

Provide useful tools to measure and analyze Citizen Science activities

CS Track will provide web-based and other tools and frameworks for analysing citizen science activities in a wide variety of settings that can be used by the stakeholder community.
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Share information, analysis and tools

CS Track will share the knowledge and resources it creates along with well researched recommendations to the wider citizen science community through an online community, publications, events and other means.

Partners

MOFET Institute

The Mofet institute, The international Channel

MOFET is responsible for project management and coordination, and chairing the Project’s Management Board. They also lead all tasks located in Israel and support exploitation planning and activation of the CS Track community. 
More info.

Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Applied Systeminnovation

Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Applied Systeminnovation

RIAS is responsible for the integration of web-based analytics (conceptually and technically), the selection and inclusion of German Activities / Initiatives as well as being responsible for the definition of interfaces for the platform. They are also responsible for data analytics on web-based activity data of the selected activities.
More info.

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Ciberimaginario and Lite lab

URJC is responsible for defining and creating the CS Track eMagazine. They will also distribute the Analysis of Citizen Science practice and other outputs as well as policy recommendations and other results through the community platform. Furthermore, they will contribute to dissemination and exploitation planning and activation of the project community.
More info.

Wissenschaftsladen Wien

WID logo

WLW lead the work on creating a conceptual and theoretical framework for CS Track as well as heading the Citizen Science Committee (CSC) and being responsible for the coordination of all aspects of citizen science in the project. They will contribute to the collection, selection and surveying of citizen science activities generally as well as specifically in the case of Austria.
More info.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Universitàt Pompeu Fabra TIDE Research Group on Interactive and Distributed Technologies for Education

UPF lead on the work to explore citizen science activities ensuring that the selection is done according to the criteria established through the work led by WLW. They will also contribute to all tasks where data collection and qualitative analysis is done. They will also support the selection and analysis of Citizen Science activities in Spain and contribute to the web-based analytics requirement analysis.
More info.

University of Jyväskylä

University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän yliopisto

JYU will lead on the quantitative data collection & analysis, accreditation discussion paper and policy recommendations. They are also responsible for implementing a new set of measures and data collection tools as well as providing insight into citizen science activities in Finland.
More info.

ATiT

ATiT

ATiT are responsible for ensuring project impact as well as working closely with URJC on the support to the citizen science community. They are responsible for ensuring effective communication channels for the project team from the outset and for making sure the outcomes are effectively disseminated to the wider citizen science community.
More info.

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas

FORTH, Institute of Applied & Computational Mathematics

FORTH will contribute to the identification of individual and social indicators and criteria on which to base analytics as well as monitoring and studying citizen science activities in Greece. They are also the Ethics & Gender Coordinator, assisting the Project Management Board in these areas.
More info.

Wissenschaft im Dialog

Wissenschaft : im dialog

WiD will be most deeply involved in the exploration and information gathering on citizen science activities and in supporting the community web platform. WiD will contribute to the communication activities of the project and create content for the eMagazine. WiD will also contribute to researching citizen science activities, particularly in Germany.
More info.

MOFET Institute

The Mofet institute, The international Channel

MOFET is responsible for project management and coordination, and chairing the Project’s Management Board. They also lead all tasks located in Israel and support exploitation planning and activation of the CS Track community. 
More info.

Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Applied Systeminnovation

Rhine-Ruhr Institute for Applied Systeminnovation

RIAS is responsible for the integration of web-based analytics (conceptually and technically), the selection and inclusion of German Activities / Initiatives as well as being responsible for the definition of interfaces for the platform. They are also responsible for data analytics on web-based activity data of the selected activities.
More info.

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Ciberimaginario and Lite lab

URJC is responsible for defining and creating the CS Track eMagazine. They will also distribute the Analysis of Citizen Science practice and other outputs as well as policy recommendations and other results through the community platform. Furthermore, they will contribute to dissemination and exploitation planning and activation of the project community.
More info.

Wissenschaftsladen Wien

WID logo

WLW lead the work on creating a conceptual and theoretical framework for CS Track as well as heading the Citizen Science Committee (CSC) and being responsible for the coordination of all aspects of citizen science in the project. They will contribute to the collection, selection and surveying of citizen science activities generally as well as specifically in the case of Austria.
More info.

Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Universitàt Pompeu Fabra TIDE Research Group on Interactive and Distributed Technologies for Education

UPF lead on the work to explore citizen science activities ensuring that the selection is done according to the criteria established through the work led by WLW. They will also contribute to all tasks where data collection and qualitative analysis is done. They will also support the selection and analysis of Citizen Science activities in Spain and contribute to the web-based analytics requirement analysis.
More info.

University of Jyväskylä

University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylän yliopisto

JYU will lead on the quantitative data collection & analysis, accreditation discussion paper and policy recommendations. They are also responsible for implementing a new set of measures and data collection tools as well as providing insight into citizen science activities in Finland.
More info.

ATiT

ATiT

ATiT are responsible for ensuring project impact as well as working closely with URJC on the support to the citizen science community. They are responsible for ensuring effective communication channels for the project team from the outset and for making sure the outcomes are effectively disseminated to the wider citizen science community.
More info.

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas

FORTH, Institute of Applied & Computational Mathematics

FORTH will contribute to the identification of individual and social indicators and criteria on which to base analytics as well as monitoring and studying citizen science activities in Greece. They are also the Ethics & Gender Coordinator, assisting the Project Management Board in these areas.
More info.

Wissenschaft im Dialog

Wissenschaft : im dialog

WiD will be most deeply involved in the exploration and information gathering on citizen science activities and in supporting the community web platform. WiD will contribute to the communication activities of the project and create content for the eMagazine. WiD will also contribute to researching citizen science activities, particularly in Germany.
More info.

Progress

December 2021 to February 2022

After the winter days and the many disruptions brought about by the pandemic, it’s great to be heading into spring and the whole team is feeling really energised as many of our research outputs start to take shape. We are also looking forward to our next face-to-face partner meeting in Barcelona at the end of March hosted by UPF. 

In January 2022, the WP1 team led by WLW submitted the Conceptual Framework for Analytics Tools (D1.2) to the European Commission. Firstly, the report presents a mapping of citizen science landscapes in the European Union and beyond, of funding programmes, policies, and platforms. Resulting from desktop research and expert interviews, this mapping also presents findings on geographic areas that are usually not in focus when talking about citizen science. The issue of political contexts is addressed in an exemplary way. Secondly, interviews with African, Asian, European and US-American experts on Open Science, research ethics and research integrity supplement the literature review contained in D1.1 and provide the reader with a clearer picture of potential policy options. Thirdly, this report presents an overview of educational citizen science activities in schools that complements the literature review on citizen science activities in education. Contributions were made to this work by practically all partners including FORTH who contributed chapters on education and geographical perspectives on CS.

During recent months, the WP2 team led by UPF finished and published their analysis of the potential citizen science has to respond to emerging challenges in COVID times. You can read about this in our eMagazine. Furthermore, they finished a study on how to apply text-classification methods to report SDGs based on CS project descriptions. The results are presented in a scientific publication to be submitted in March. The work done on exploring the relationship between learning outcomes and Citizen Science has been finished and a publication is in progress. As an extension of this work, the team is working on exploring computational methods to classify the data based on the learning skills identified as part of the learning outcomes study. Regarding this line of work, an abstract for a poster has been accepted for the Engaging Citizen Science Conference 2022 (lead WiD and UPF). FORTH completed a case study on the effects of crises on CS participation which suggests that citizen scientists engagement, as measured by time invested, is enhanced during a crisis situation. The study further identified constraining factors on participation such as decreased motivation and the organisers inability to engage potential participants on promotional type of events. During this period, the team also ran two workshops: one co-organised with Scientix “Citizen science and SDGs” on December 10th & 17th; and another one organised in UPF (co-funded with UPF funding) “Co-design workshop on Citizen Science and SDG” on December 14th. For this year, new workshops will be prepared based on WP2 work. The team is excited to know more about what the data that they have gathered has to say. 

In the reporting period, the WP3 team led by RIAS prepared the second Analytics Workbench (AWB) workshop to be held on March 15 as the first event in the new CS Track Webinar series. The system development and first evaluation results of the AWB have been documented in D3.2 (finalised and submitted beginning of December). The AWB was also a main topic of the presentation given in January by Cleo Schulten and Ulrich Hoppe (RIAS) in the “Digital Citizen Science” speaker series of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). RIAS has continued the work on using ESA to extract Research Areas and SDGs from project descriptions. In the line of applying Social Network Analysis (SNA) to data from CS project forums that started with the Chimp & See study, the team is currently further elaborating these techniques with a new sample of seven Zooniverse projects. Here, the focus is on characterising the evolution of participation and distribution of roles in CS teams. These research activities contribute to several publications, especially between WP2 and WP3 involving UPF, URJC and RIAS. URJC has further elaborated a study and publication in which the analysis of CS-related Twitter data is projected on Health and eHealth topics.

In this period, the WP4 team led by JYU has continued working on triangulation and statistical analysis as well as forming the basis used for developing policy recommendations and accreditation practices. Work on triangulation has continued in collaboration with WP2 and WP3 on research topics which were discussed during the Jyväskylä workshop last November. Much effort in this period was put into creating statistical models for creating understanding of the activities and practices of citizen scientists. The deliverable D4.3 Models to identify background factors associated with the CS activity was completed and submitted. This deliverable explicated and elaborated the methodological bases of the scientific studies done in CS Track. In addition, it provided insights into statistical modelling of factors which provide explanations of the activities and experiences of citizen scientists. During this period, FORTH designed, through discussions with JYU, the initial conceptual framework for inter project investigation on policy considerations. This is driven by the CIPP evaluation model and is contextualised on project requirements.

For this period, WP5 led by URJC has continued working on the outputs for the CS Track website publishing a total of 38 articles of which 27 are internal and 11 are external. As part of this work, WP5 developed a video interview with IMDEA Energy. In addition, the  WP5 team  has been working on a production plan for a video presentation of the Project, and an interactive video with different interviews which will be recorded during the Barcelona meeting on 28, 29 and 30 March. The team also continues to work with the WP6 team on different articles that will be published in the future to ensure the relevance and quality of the project’s outputs. Finally, the team is working on a webinar on Communication and analytical tools for communicating CS projects that will take place in May in collaboration with Marius Oesterheld from WiD.

Much of the work carried out by the WP6 team led by ATiT has become far more concrete as they work to promote the outputs of the project to ensure impact. Several public deliverables have come on stream in the past 3 months and for each the team has been running dedicated promotional campaigns which involve creating briefings, social media campaigns and other communication artefacts to facilitate engagement. And this seems to work as can be seen by the number of downloads of documents on a daily basis. The team has also launched a new series of webinars and plans are in hand to organise at least 6 different open online events centred on project outputs for stakeholders. The team has also been actively engaged in identifying suitable external content for the project, eMagazine and supporting partners in their scientific publication efforts as well as their engagement in relevant events and conferences. 

The management and coordination team in WP7 led by Mofet have devoted a relatively significant amount of time to the preparation of a second meeting of the project’s External Advisory Board (EAB). The EAB meeting will take place on 28.4.22, with the participation of the same external, international experts that participated in the first meeting about a year ago. The team also dealt with several issues connected with information flow within the project and data protection, and the implications of these aspects on the current and future publication activities of the project’s research teams.The coordination team also attended to other matters, such as the preparation and organisation of the regular monthly online meetings and the face-to-face meeting that will be held in Barcelona, Spain, at the end of March, and issues related to the work effort allocation among partners.

September 2021 to November 2021

It’s been a busy autumn for the CS Track team as more of our key outputs came on stream. We also managed to have a face-to-face meeting kindly hosted by JYU in the lovely city of Jyväskylä in Finland, where it was really great to meet properly after almost 2 years of working and meeting online. 

In WP1, the team submitted an updated version of D1.1, the first deliverable in WP1. Among other contents, this report contains the Activities & Dimensions Grid of Citizen Science, which presents a nuanced and differentiated overview of various Citizen Science activities and their potential dimensions. This Grid, which addresses CS activities in significant detail, is based on the belief that the only way we can clearly assess such activities is by considering a wide variety of dimensions such as funding, scale, the location of participation and requirements for participation, to name but a few. Moreover, to discern each activity’s potential pitfalls, caveats, and ethical issues, we need a nuanced perception of these dimensions. Looking forward to D1.2, the authors also suggested how the Grid can be operationalized for the web analytics to be conducted in WP3. After the submission of D1.1, the authors focussed on the next report, D1.2. At the end of D1.1 you can find a list of questions that could not be answered by literature reviews or which are raised because of these reviews. In order to shed light on some of these questions, researchers from the Science Shop Vienna began to conduct interviews with experts on Open Science to broaden the perspective on Citizen Science and with experts on research ethics and research integrity to get a more nuanced picture of ethical issues in Citizen Science.

The WP2 team has progressed with the analysis of selected cases of analysis, this includes investigating the potential of citizen science to respond to emerging challenges in COVID times (final report available very soon in the eMagazine); understanding how crisis is managed in Citizen Science projects; analysing how the SDGs are reported in CS project descriptions; and exploring the relationship between learning outcomes and Citizen Science. In this line, an abstract was submitted for the Engaging Citizen Science Conference 2022 (lead WiD and UPF). During this period, the team also designed the materials and finalised the details for two workshops: One co-organized with Scientix “Citizen science and SDGs” to be held online on the 10th & 17th December; and another one organised in UPF (co-funded with UPF funding) “Co-design workshop on Citizen Science and SDG” to be held face-to-face on the 14th December. Both workshops were led by UPF. A publication was submitted for the call for papers: “Special Issue on Bots in Software Engineering (IEEE Computer Society)” describing the work done regarding the automatic extraction of CS data, development of the CS Track DB and consideration of GDPR requirements (lead by UPF and RIAS). The team also contributed to D1.2 ‘Conceptual Framework for Analytics Tools’ describing the overall methodology for all empirical research in WP2.

During autumn 2021, the WP3 team led by RIAS completed the CS Track Analytics Workbench, including the macro-level Twitter-based tools developed by URJC in addition to content-analytic components that were further improved and extended beyond the first prototype. The workbench was tested and evaluated in a public workshop held mid-November. This very successful workshop had 30 inscriptions from CS Track’s analytics workbench with users from various disciplines and organisations. Follow-up workshops and demos are planned for Spring 2022. The workbench has been documented in recently submitted deliverable D3.2. Another important focus was the further elaboration of the conceptual underpinning of the on-going triangulation from the technical perspective. The corresponding project workshop in Jyväskylä allowed the team to develop and transfer ideas between WPs 3 and 4. The WP3 team including RIAS and URJC has also been engaged in publication activities together with UPF. 

After such a long time of not meeting due to the pandemic, the JYU team leading WP4 were delighted to organise a meeting and workshop in November for all partners at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. The workshop concentrated on triangulation methods, i.e., how to use various data sources in scientific collaboration and how to design studies using a triangulation method. Another focus of effort during this period was the analysis and further processing of data gathered during the CS Track survey which resulted in the completion of D4.2. In addition, initial work on building the statistical models for D4.3 was started. The aim was to create a novel understanding of participants’ subjective experiences of learning and knowledge building processes in Citizen Science projects. A scientific article was prepared to address these questions, and two articles were published in the eMagazine. Scientific communication continued at the end of November as JYU delivered two talks at the annual Finnish Educational Research Association (FERA) meeting, focusing on the topics of ”Citizen science and learning communities: Digital turning point” and ”Citizen science with knowledge, science capital and science literacy as a pathway to continuous learning”. 

WP5 has been working on the publication process. Together with the Editorial Committee and thanks to all project members who contributed to the eMagazine, WP5 has been able to feed the website with new content reaching up to 15 internal contributions and 16 external ones. Furthermore ,the URJC team has supplied the publications with interactive multimedia content to enrich the form of the pieces of information. During this period, different actions have been carried out to motivate and guide all project members in order to help them in the process of supplying new content for the eMagazine. In addition, WP5 has also implemented a new website version. In this period, the URJC team, together with ATIT and in collaboration with JYU, have developed a series of focus groups that helped identify several points that could have been negatively affecting the dissemination goals. Among the most outstanding changes are the creation of categories divided by topic, which allowed the implementation of a new main menu, always visible, allowing the user to navigate through the content provided. In addition, the information architecture of the web has been modified to clarify the differences between the eMagazine content and project information. Furthermore, a powerful search engine has been included to allow users to recover information faster and in an easier way.

Autumn was a particularly busy period for the WP6 team as various campaigns for different outputs were planned and delivered. This period began with a round of Focus group meetings with different stakeholder groups which was run together with WP4 and WP5 and which provided a considerable amount of inputs for all project work. This input was discussed extensively with other members of the team as plans were adjusted to take the feedback received into account. The WP6 team continued to play as active a role as possible in relevant networks such as EU-Citizen. Science and delivered the first online workshop on the analytics workbench together with RIAS and the team from WP3. According as the first project scientific papers have been published, the team has also been promoting their contents as widely as possible as well as continuing to gather inputs for the eMagazine from the wider scientific community.

On the coordination side (WP7), this period marked the conclusion of important tasks initiated in the previous quarters, especially related to mid-term reporting and to the consortium’s effective response to the observations made (mainly on issues of information on the project’s publications, financial reporting, timing of deliverables submission, etc.). The consequent approval of the report triggered the reception of an additional pre-financing from the EC and its distribution to the partners. The coordination team also devoted attention to other matters more or less directly related to the report, such as supporting the preparation and finalisation of several deliverables, attending issues in their peer reviewing processes, etc., that were either pending or became pending in the post-report stage. The first face-to-face project meeting after a long time was organised in Jyväskylä, Finland, the preparation of which entailed some general coordination action as well.

June 2021 to August 2021

The CS Track project team continued to work intensively over the summer months. Much of this work was accompanied by more concrete promotion of the team’s research outcomes through scientific publication in various channels and journals. 

The WP1 team continued working on an enlarged version of the Framework Conceptual Model Deliverable (D1.1) over the summer. The new version of D1.1 contains further details on how other categorisations and typologies fed into the Activities-Dimensions Grid of Citizen Science. The grid allows for an accurate differentiation between different forms of citizen science. Such differentiations are necessary for a specific assessment of possible benefits and/or caveats of the various citizen science activities that have been identified. Increasing the possible benefits and spotting caveats requires account to be taken of the respective special characteristics of these activities. The revision of D1.1 was completed in September.

The WP2 team made progress with the analysis of selected cases of analysis, this includes investigating the potential of citizen science to respond to emerging challenges in COVID times  and understanding how crisis is managed in Citizen Science projects. In addition, the team is exploring the application of specific computational techniques of analysis to classify CS information according to their relation with the SDGs (sustainable development goals). Three different methods/tools have been used, nCoder, ESA and OSDG in order to understand their efficiency and potential use with a large data sample. Currently the application of the three methods has been completed and the analysis of results is in progress. Another dimension under analysis is the relation between Citizen Science and education. A selection of projects has been analysed and coded, and will be used to understand how the categorisation can be automatised and therefore applied to the CS Track database. Further work is on how to also anonymise CS metadata without losing its purpose.

During the last period of work in WP3, the analytics workbench has been advanced. In addition to the extraction of research areas and named entities (organisations, persons, etc.) from project descriptions, other analytical methods have been elaborated and integrated. The add-ons comprise the extraction of SDGs as a result of a joint activity between WP2 and WP3. To address a broader landscape of citizen science activities and projects (potentially beyond the WP2 database), analyses based on Twitter data have been included in the workbench as well. A case study about network analysis of an online citizen science activity (Chimp & See) has been published and presented at the CollabTech conference.

The WP4 team led by the JYU team has been working intensively with other WP teams to prepare for the busy autumn period. The citizen science survey was closed at the end of August. The data prepared for a first analysis was submitted for review. Meetings on triangulation have been held on different approaches to triangulation using quantitative and qualitative analysis and their relationship to constructing policies on citizen science. A second analysis has begun with the coding of projects in collaboration with WP2. The coded projects’ information will be used as a connecting data-point of the triangulation analysis across different data sets.

WP5 led by URJC has been working on the publication of new articles for the CS Track eMagazine and in the development of the monthly newsletters with the support of the project editorial committee made up of individuals from different partner organisations. This quarter has been really productive because a total of 11 articles have been published, among which it is worth mentioning the new formats of opinion articles and interviews. During this period, the WP5 team continued to collaborate with WP6 in dissemination tasks in order to offer greater visibility to the activities carried out in the project and to increase audience for the newsletter. At the same time, several articles are being prepared for submission in different scientific publications in the coming months.

The work carried out by the WP6 team continues to focus on ensuring the impact of CS Track by participating in as many dissemination opportunities as possible. A new YouTube channel, was developed and the reach of other channels such as the Twitter channel continued to grow. Over the summer, the team put considerable effort with WP5 and WP4 into preparing for an extensive round of focus groups to be held in September with two main goals in mind. The first is to check with different stakeholder groups the effectiveness of the dissemination process including the various internal and external tools and channels used in CS Track. The second goal is to compare the different insights and research outcomes under development in CS Track with stakeholders’ expectations and needs.

During this period, the coordination work in WP7 was largely concentrated on the reporting and review processes advanced in the previous trimester. These had to do with revising deliverables and responding to questions arising from the mid-term review. All were successfully addressed, clearing the way for the smooth continuation of the project in the second half of its active life. Other important tasks undertaken by the coordination team included leading discussions on the nature, coverage, extent and channels of provision of information and knowledge produced (and to be produced) in the project, and collaborating with other teams following up on the outcomes of and contacts created in the meeting with the External Advisory Board in spring.

March 2021 to May 2021

As we prepared for our first progress review, the whole consortium has been working hard to carry out the various tasks planned in each work package. Many of these called for close collaboration amongst the different teams involved which we managed to achieve thanks to a significant number of zoom calls  – roll on the opportunity to meet face-to-face!

In April the WP1 team, coordinated by WLW, submitted the Framework Conceptual Model report to the European Commission. This report contains a literature review of citizen science-related topics, situates citizen science in a historical context, discusses various conceptualisations of citizen science, and analyses existing categorisations and typologies of citizen science activities. It then presents a scheme of how citizen science can be categorised and characterised according to a broad range of relevant dimensions which can be used in WP2, WP3, WP4 but also in future research, as no single endeavour may be able to take them all into account. Furthermore, it includes a short overview of the conceptual models for computer analytics that will be presented with all required detail in the Conceptual Framework for Analytics Tools report. Some results were presented at the Citizen Science Association’s CitSciVirtual conference (a poster on definitions, categorisations and characterisations of CS) and at Forum Citizen Science 2021 of Bürger schaffen Wissen (a presentation of debates on ethics and research integrity in citizen science from a metaethical perspective).

The WP2 team, led by UPF, has progressed with the analysis of data from the database (DB). Our tasks are mainly focused on understanding how human and computation analytical methods can be combined to analyse in depth the data collected in the DB. In particular, we have made progress regarding how to connect the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with CS projects. As presented during the first progress review, we joined efforts with WP3 and WP4 to show how to assign research areas by using Explicit Semantic Analysis (ESA) to the description descriptor of projects in the DB. A preliminary report studying how COVID-19 is investigated in CS has been developed and a more detailed report is in progress. In parallel, another line of work is focused on providing an analysis of participation patterns and crisis management in CS. During this period, WP2 organised a workshop and poster presentation in CitSciVirtual, and we gave an invited talk in the STEM Higher Level event organised by BRITEC. The responses to a survey on who actually participates in citizen science activities (T2.2) were analyzed and the results are compiled into a report. 

During the last period, WP3 completed the first operational version of the analytics workbench. This prototype facilitates methods of text analytics (ESA, NER) and visualisations of network structures of projects that are connected through organisations and research areas, among other entities. In addition, URJC continued the analysis of Twitter data with a focus on citizen science in education. A first dashboard visualising the collected and analysed Twitter data (based on Lynguo) has been created. Both prototypes have been demonstrated publicly at the CitSciVirtual conference. 

The JYU team leading WP4 has been working with the initial results of the survey throughout spring 2021. After a huge effort with dissemination, over 1000 people responded from nearly 40 countries. The initial results have been presented in different forums. Currently the JYU team is  working on three major tasks: (1) triangulation with WP2 and WP3, (2) the upcoming promotional campaign for our White Paper on the Themes, Objectives and Participants in CS Activities’ and (3) creating eMagazine articles to disseminate the preliminary results of the survey.

The URJC team leading WP5 has been working on publication of six eMagazine articles together with the CS Track Editorial Committee. In addition, WP5 participated with our partners from WP2 and WP3 in the CitSciVirtual conference focusing on the communication channels for the project where we also presented a poster. We also worked with the ATiT team in WP6 on 1) the intermediate report for our review; 2) the campaign to disseminate the project’s results, and 3) the CS Track Newsletter release. Finally, in order to better understand the impact of our website, the newsletter and the eMagazine, the URJC team have also set up a dedicated dashboard to analyse the reach and take-up of our channels.

Work on assuring the impact of the project continues under the leadership of ATiT in WP6. The last three months we have spent a lot of time supporting partners in their inputs to various events including the three CS Track webinars in the CitSciVirtual conference as well as the general contribution about CS Track that was given by WiD & RIAS at Forum Citizen Science 2021. We also started work on the next set of campaigns to share project outputs contained in the next three public deliverables which are almost ready for distribution. In addition, we have been exploring several avenues to elicit relevant external input to the eMagazine and helping to increase sign-ups for the newsletter. 

Following the conclusion of CS Track’s first reporting period (first 15 months of the project), this trimester has been marked in WP7 by 4 major tasks in the managerial-coordination area: (1) the preparation and submission of the project’s first Policy Brief (a contractual deliverable); (2) the organisation of the first (e-)meeting of our External Advisory Board  which took place on 24.3.21 and involved 5 international experts; (3) the preparation and submission of our first Periodic Report (and of April); and (4) carrying out the project’s first review meeting (25.5.21).

December 2020 to February 2021

The first 3 months of our second year of work have been really busy, with many of the different teams working hard on significant project outputs. Like everyone else, we continue to collaborate remotely which, although far from ideal, has meant that we have reached our goals in most aspects of our work for this period.

WP1 has been finalising the first major deliverable (D1.1). This report analyses different conceptualisations of citizen science and categorisations of citizen science activities. Reviews present what scientific literature says about the benefits citizen science can bring for scientific research, about caveats, risks, pitfalls and limitations, enablers, barriers and (dis)incentives. Policy makers have high expectations that citizen science contributes to a better embedding of research and innovation into society, hence the discussion presented in the report on the promise of CS to promote inclusive science education and public participation in science. Finally, D1.1 presents a categorisation of CS activities that is drafted under the perspective of providing a basis for research in WP2 and WP3.

For WP2, one of the main outcomes from the last three months has been the submission of the deliverable D2.1 ‘Explorative study of CS projects in Europe, categorisation and clustering to build a database of CS projects for analysis.’ In parallel, WP2 has been advancing research regarding our main goal which is to Explore and document parameters of CS activities in Europe and associated countries. It has been decided to approach this research goal from three different perspectives: A. ‘Broad exploration using content analysis’; B. ‘Understanding citizen science projects adapted to conduct Covid-19 related research’; and C. ‘How crisis management in the case of Covid-19 relates to CS participation’. The database is continuously updated, at the moment it contains data from 52 CS platforms and a total of 4469 projects categorised as CS from European or associated countries. In addition to this, two submissions led by UPF (a poster and a workshop) have been accepted for publication in CitSciVirtual 2021.

During the last period, text analytics have been applied to assign research areas to projects based on their (textual) description on their websites. This was intended to investigate the multidisciplinary nature of citizen science activities, which has been described and published in two eMagazine issues. During the next period, the analysis will be extended to a larger set of projects. In addition to computational content analysis, WP3 characterised citizen science networks through Twitter analysis based on the Lynguo tools regarding person-to-person communication, the detection of subcommunities and information diffusion in social networks. To complement the analysis of social interaction, we are excited to explore knowledge-building discourse further using epistemic network analysis during the upcoming period. 

For the last three months the JYU team in WP4 has worked and succeeded in preparing and disseminating the citizen science survey. This survey which is still ongoing has been work intensive in its coordination and dissemination. Preliminary results indicate that the work done by JYU and our partners has paid off. At this point of the survey it is difficult to provide exact results, but the data seems to indicate that we have managed to reach a multitude of different citizen science organisations and participants across Europe and beyond. Additionally we have reviewed a partially completed deliverable (D.1.1) and are currently working on D4.2, which will shine a light on our work and findings thus far.

The URJC team, who lead WP5, has been working on the publication of eMagazine articles together with the CS Track Editorial Committee. To encourage the participation of the citizen science community in the Community Platform, a comment system was installed in the eMagazine. In the same way, the URJC team has been organising meetings with other partners in order to establish the periodicity of the eMagazine. As a result, there will be two graphical articles and two reports published in March and others are under development. The URJC team has also submitted a poster in the International Conference “New Perspective in Science Education” relating to the Community Platform of the eMagazine and have been working on the dissemination of the CS Track survey.

Over the past 3 months the WP6 tead has successfully launched CS Track’s first major promotional campaign to support the large-scale survey led by JYU in WP4. For the WP6 team, this involved a significant dissemination action which saw our twitter channel pass its first important milestone when we attracted our 500th follower. We also submitted two deliverables, the first reporting on impact assurance in the first year and the second on the development and support of a CS Track Community of Interest which we are working on with URJC in WP5. We are making considerable inroads in terms of collaboration with the wider CS community and the number of visitors to our website is increasing. We have also developed several plans for event participation and are busy with planning our next significant campaign linked to the publication of the first real outputs of the project. 

This trimester demanded quite intensive work from the management and coordination (WP7) team, as it featured many, standard and less standard tasks in this area. Among the latter we may highlight the following: External Advisory Board planning (finalising the list of international experts to attend the first meeting, and fixing the date for March 24); launching the preparation of our periodic report (due on April), on both financial and content aspects; starting the preparation of the project’s first, mid-term review (preliminarily planned for May); addressing specific issues encountered in work planning, dealing with revisions in the internal allocation of some partners’ person-months among different work packages; etc. Project management was represented in a webinar on financial matters organised by the EC. The usual monitoring of pending deliverables and the submission of some of them, as well as following up the achievement of projected milestones was relatively more active in these months. WP7 coordinated the preparation of and submitted a contractual deliverable (the first edition of CS Track’s “Policy Brief”) and coordinated the provision of information requested by the EC on “institutional changes” by relevant partners.

Finally in relation to WP8 over the past 3 months, the partnership has closely examined issues related to gender and to ethical considerations as well as those which are embedded in the activity(ies) performed in the project. Partner responses on these parameters are documented in the project’s tailor-made template designed in the previous trimester. In all WPs the work addressed is in full compliance with data security and ethical aspects and GDPR as described  in D7.1 and gender constitutes a key factor in the project’s analytical perspective. Specific actions included addressing gender engagement in WP1 for example where the percentage of experts engaged in the geographical interview process was clearly skewed towards female participation and overall the WP8 team noted that the dimensions of gender and participation patterns in CS projects is in need of further exploration.

 

September 2020 to November 2020

Life for the CS Track team continues to be busy, despite the pandemic and quite a lot of progress has been made as we reach the end of our first year.

More often than not, Citizen Science is discussed from a Western, especially Anglo-American and British, perspective. In WP1, we have taken a broader perspective. Did you know that the term “Citizen Science“ was coined in Japan (in Japanese, of course) before Alan Irwin and R. Bonney et al. introduced it independently of one another? In our ongoing literature review we frequently come across such interesting facts. It has also become clearer that when we talk about the benefits and challenges of Citizen Science, we have to be quite specific about the Citizen Science activities that we are discussing along with the settings and characteristics of such activities. In parallel to the literature review, we have also been conducting expert interviews on Citizen Science during this period where the focus has mainly been on the Open Science and Citizen Science policies in EU15 Member States.

The WP2 team has been working on the first deliverable D2.1. The work presented in this deliverable reports on work done during the first year of the project (M1 to M12): this includes the description of the process followed to build the first version of the CS Track database (DB) and the results from a first analysis of the collection of Citizen Science (CS) projects contained in the DB. It also includes a section reporting on the strengths and weaknesses of the current data collection process. This analysis is especially relevant to plan the next steps (including the engagement of other WPs) to explore and document parameters of CS activities. In parallel to this task, the dissemination of the VSQ (very short questionnaire) to be distributed to CS organisers/coordinators has started in December, the survey URL can be found here.

In the first year of CS Track, the WP3 team have identified, assembled, and documented relevant analytic methods, including techniques of social network analysis and information mining. Drawing on the large set of projects contained in CS Track’s database, we have so far elaborated some applications that show the potential of the analyses on three different levels. On the micro-level, we have used data from forum interactions in CS projects to identify roles and interaction patterns between professional scientists and volunteers. On a meso-level, we have extracted research areas from project descriptions and reports using text mining techniques. On the highest level of aggregation, we can analyse the interactions between projects, groups of projects and other entities (such as public media) relying on Twitter data including mentions, retweets, or follower relationships. This has already been performed using Lynguo for the analysis of publications and citations in the context of citizen science. Those results will be consolidated and prepared for publication in the CS Track eMagazine.

The team leading WP4 has been working extensively on building a foundation for the dissemination of the key CS Track project survey in January 2021. The purpose of this Europe-wide survey into people’s experiences in citizen science activities is to investigate people’s experiences in citizen science activities regardless of their level of participation or the topic. The work carried out by the WP4 team includes a comprehensive dissemination plan for CS Track partners, as well as a log to manage the dissemination process. The team have also been very actively engaged in negotiations with other strategic partners to support the dissemination process.

The WP5 team has been working on the launch of the Community Platform. The first version was presented in September and included a call to action module in order to attract the audience’s attention and facilitate subscription to the newsletter. Likewise, the team has been improving the eMagazine and the Community Platform to provide different types of content such as graphical articles, reports and other representation of information that highlight the value of Citizen Science. Finally, the first publication of the eMagazine is scheduled to be published before the end of December 2020. In this respect, the first Editorial Committee meeting has taken place to support the eMagazine publication workflow and timeline so that a monthly post can be published.

In WP6, we have continued our focus on building our connections within the Citizen Science community across Europe and relationships with specific projects have been deepened as we continue to find ways to support and augment relevant research activities already underway within the community as well as finding the right niche for our own outputs. CS Track was particularly well represented during the recent SDG conference in Berlin and we also launched our presence in Zenodo during recent months. Work to support partners in their work in the different areas of project activity continues including effort to promote the project wide survey being led by JYU in WP4.

Management and coordination (WP7) activity continued in its normal path, with some new emphases that characterised this trimester: more extensive dialogue with the Project Officer on issues of budget use, planning and proper financing of the External Advisory Board (currently scheduled to be launched in February 2021), project review timing; adjustments in the submission schedule of some deliverables, etc. As well, a first “exercise” of (internal) financial reporting which was carried out with all partners.

As part of its continuous overview of ethical and gender matters in the project, WP8’s co-leader FORTH issued a template for WP and task leaders to inform on gender and ethical issues encountered in their project work. Conceived both as a monitoring and reflection tool, the template will be updated periodically for managerial follow up and as a source of information for external reporting.

June 2020 to August 2020

It’s been a busy summer for the CS Track team despite the travel restrictions faced by everyone and we are looking forward to our next online partner meeting in September when we will jointly discuss project progress.

During this period, a systematic literature review revealed in WP1 that the level of evidence on Citizen Science is low. For instance, who participates and what are (dis)incentives, enablers and barriers for Citizen Science are rarely investigated beyond a single project. Research in CS Track is pioneering here. Meanwhile, the team working in WP2 has created a first version of the CS Track database with data of CS projects from 43 CS platforms. Data is classified based on the PPRS_CORE metadata standard. A new client tool ‘metabase’ is now available to CS Track partners to access the database and support collaborative research work to be carried by practically all partners.

After finalising and submitting the “Specification of Analytics Methods and Tools” (the first deliverable from WP3) beginning of August, the main focus of the WP3 team is now on the automatic categorisation of CS activities based on topic extraction from textual descriptions. This will allow us to determine the relevant research areas/topics of a given activity. Additionally, it will enable us to characterise the level of interdisciplinarity and potential synergies of CS projects. We are also happy to report that the questionnaire in WP4 has been successfully piloted over the summer, and it is now being fine-tuned. Final preparations for having it translated to local languages and launched later in the autumn are well underway.

The WP5 team has been working on the development of a deliverable that describes the technical requirements and the plan for implementation of the Community Platform and the e-Magazine based on the technical and user needs of the consortium partners. In WP6, the focus has been on building our contacts and knowledge of the Citizen Science community with a particular reference to the research community which has included working on our publication planning. CS Track team members are starting to give their first presentations at relevant conferences like the EASST/4S conference in August and the SDG Conference in Berlin in October.

In WP7, our coordinating team has continued its varied managerial activities, also participating in virtually all meetings at project or multi-WP level and launching some special activities. The latter included the development of peer review/quality assurance procedures of project deliverables, and centralising the planning and preparation work for the institution of CS Track’s External Advisory Board, made up of international Citizen Science experts supporting the project’s work and sustained relevance.

December 2019 to February 2020

Following a really successful kick-off meeting held in Leuven in December 2019, each of the work package leaders have been busy getting started on their tasks. In WP1, coordinated by WLW, partners are identifying CS networks, portals, and project databases on the one hand, and funding schemes and policies pertaining to citizen science on the other, to get a  first overview of the global citizen science landscape. UPF who lead WP2 have been organising regular meetings with partners to get their work on selecting citizen science projects for analysis started as well as figuring out the requirements of our data base. RIAS who lead WP3 have been working on establishing a privacy policy for information from publicly available resources while JYU who lead WP4 have created the first draft of their questionnaire which will be used for gathering information about citizen science activities.  WP5 leader URJC and WP6 leader ATiT have been working closely to meet the first project milestone, that of launching the project as well as taking stock of the current channels and resources available for communication and dissemination within the wider European Citizen Science environment. For project coordinators, MOFET, launching the management structure and protocols has been their main focus as well as guiding the project partners during this early stage. Leading WP8, and working in close collaboration with FORTH (coordinators of the Ethics and Gender subject in the project), they have also been working on the ethical and data management planning for CS Track.

March 2020 to May 2020

Despite the current pandemic, CS Track partners have continued to be busy working on the project these past 3 months. Much of this work was presented and discussed at the project partners’ meeting, held as a marathon online event spread over 3 days at the start of May.

Over this period, WLW, who are leading WP1, have extended their research work and refined the selection process they are applying in their overview of the global citizen science landscape which will translate into conceptual models and exclusion criteria to be used in other work packages. UPF, who lead WP2, are now well advanced in their collection of citizen science platforms and projects (so far 15,000 projects have been identified) advancing to concretize definitions of activities. Ongoing work is being carried out to guarantee the accessibility of CS Track partners to the database, to support collaborative research to be carried by WP1-5. At this point, WP3 activities, which are led by RIAS, are focused on describing and putting together analytic methods (for D3.1) with some first examples of analyzing community interactions and online discourse from project web pages (such as the Zooniverse “Chimp & See” project). There have also been interactions with WP2 related to extracting descriptive information from project pages.

The questionnaire which is an integral part of the work in WP4 led by JYU will be tested over the summer months in preparation for the launch of a major survey by CS Track in autumn. WP5 leader URJC are advancing well in their refinement of their plans for the community portal and e-Magazine which will be launched at the end of 2020. The impact assurance work in WP6 led by ATiT continues with support from WiD. The website is being kept up to date with news about related research activities and a twitter channel has been launched. At the same time a lot of effort is going into building up contacts with the wider stakeholder community in advance of our first outputs. For the project management team led by MOFET, this last period has been very busy with project coordination and the finalisation of the partner agreement. Finally, the deliverables required on Ethics in WP8, led by MOFET in close collaboration with FORTH, are now finalised, and deliverable D7.1 – Data Management Plan, (DMP), coordinated by MOFET and RIAS, has also been submitted on time.

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  1. Policy-maker: Regional, national or international policy-maker or influencer.
  2. Academic: Academic engaged in research related to Citizen Science.
  3. Citizen Scientist: Citizen Scientist involved in or managing/planning one or more Citizen Science project.
  4. Organisational representative: member of a civil society organisation or NGO supporting Citizen Science (including science centres and musea, CS clubs and platforms etc.).
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