Accepted Paper:

Beyond Citizen Science: Community science, civic technology and their implications on environmental decision-making  

Author:

Shannon Marie Dosemagen (Public Lab)

Paper short abstract:

This paper challenges the boundaries of citizen science and the ways in which citizens have been expected to (not) participate in science, examining scientific settings in which notions of expertise, ownership and the use of science for critical objectives come to the forefront.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses a model that challenges the way knowledge is produced and distributed in citizen science. The community science model used by Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab) purports that community-led scientific problem identification, exploration and investigation, allows for engagement in the entirety of the scientific process, ownership of and access to resultant data, and orientation towards community goals and actions. Community science supports ownership and involvement by breaking down barriers built around expertise across the spectrum of research processes from problem identification, tool design and development, data collection, analysis and advocacy. This paper explores the work of Public Lab in building open licensing practices and civic technology into community science methodology in support of environmental justice objectives. It argues that both scientific design and technology appropriately used and situated within models of community organizing can strengthen the ability for people to become stakeholders in decisions made about their communities.

Contributing to STS literature, this paper ends with a conversation about the different routes that can be used during the community science process towards achieving goals ranging from the use of performative science to leveraging institutional partnerships towards broader implications such as legal action and policy change. Challenging the boundaries of citizen science and the ways in which citizens have been expected to (not) participate in science, this paper examines scientific settings in which notions of expertise, ownership and the use of science for critical objectives come to the forefront.

Panel T061
Open science in practice