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Citizen science and global biodiversity
Citizen science and global biodiversity

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9 Creating a support structure for citizen science

Citizen science projects and activities have been initiated by a range of organisations, including scientific bodies, schools, universities and volunteer groups, with a view to involving both beginners and experienced citizen scientists in activities contributing to scientific and other areas of research, from local to global issues (see Wikipedia’s growing list [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ) The increase in accessibility of communications technology, particularly over the past ten years, has matched the growth in the scale of citizen science, seeing the development of websites and online platforms that seek input from even larger audiences through crowdsourcing. Efforts to share best practice and formalise thinking about leading citizen science initiatives have also been happening through the development of associations, groups and networks formed through professional affiliation, common interests and geographical location. A few examples are listed below.

UK: The British Ecological Society (BES) citizen science special interest group provides a forum for sharing details of current citizen science in ecology. It also fosters and supports creativity in research via citizen science as part of a community.

The UK’s Tree Health Citizen Science Network was formed by a group of organisations working across a range of projects and activities that engage the public around trees.

Europe: The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) was set up to encourage the growth of citizen science across Europe, to increase public participation in scientific processes, mainly by initiating and supporting citizen science projects as well as conducting research on citizen science. ECSA has a membership of over 200 individual and organisational members from over 28 countries across the European Union and beyond. Below is a video from the 2018 conference, the next ECSA conference will be held in Trieste, Italy in May 2020.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 3 from the ECSA’s second International Citizen Science Conference, Geneva, 3–5 June 2018.
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Video 3 from the ECSA’s second International Citizen Science Conference, Geneva, 3–5 June 2018.
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USA: The US-based Citizen Science Association (CSA) brings together a diverse range of practitioners working in this field, around the world, to share their expertise, resources and best practices in conducting various types of citizen science project.

Australia: The Australian Citizen Science Association is a membership community supporting the development of citizen science in Australia. It was formed to help advance citizen science through the sharing of knowledge, collaboration, capacity building and advocacy.