Accepted Paper:

Trading Zones, Citizen Science and New Infrastructures for Knowledge Production  


Per Hetland (Oslo University)

Paper short abstract:

This study focuses on citizen science, systematic biology, biodiversity mapping and how the Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo and its stakeholders interact with communities of interest outside of professional institutions and engage laypeople in citizen science.

Paper long abstract:

Using the metaphor of a 'trading zone', Galison (1997) explains how communication is managed where there is a high degree of incommensurability. Collins, Evans and Gorman (2010) studied trading zones and interactional expertise along the twin dimensions of homogeneity-heterogeneity and collaboration-coercion. In this study, the trading zone metaphor will be used to explore how citizen science has evolved to make it possible for participants to develop both interactional expertise and contributory expertise (Collins & Evans, 2015; Collins, Evans, & Weinel, 2015; Hetland, 2011).

The citizen science case includes five smaller studies of: 1) crowdsourcing activities, where the museum has established a portal for volunteers to contribute to citizen science transcriptions and focus on motivation and possible learning outcomes, 2) validation processes in Species Observation and the different arrangements for developing participants' expertise, 3) how social networking has changed over time and how these changes have led to the development of lay communities, 4) user perspectives, especially youth engagement and 5) what happens to the old relationships between laypeople and institutions when new technology and practices are introduced. In these studies, we will explore contributory, engagement, collaboration, co-created and collegial models (Shirk et al., 2012) and how they facilitate various amounts of engagement. We use a range of qualitative methods such as virtual ethnography, semi-structured interviews and also small surveys.

Panel T106
Citizen science: Beyond the laboratory