Citizen Science at your Academic Library: Ideas and Inspiration — LIBER and SciStarter Webinar Report
On the 27th April 2023, the LIBER Citizen Science Working Group and SciStarter joined forces for the second in a three-part webinar series focusing on Citizen Science engagement and best practices. The webinar – ‘Citizen Science at your Academic Library: Ideas and Inspiration’ – highlighted how academic libraries from the USA and Europe are fostering engagement in the field of Citizen Science.
LIBER encourages the uptake of Citizen Science practices as a key pillar of Open Science. Citizen Science can help bridge the gap between science and society, with academic libraries perfectly placed to facilitate this movement. Read more about LIBER’s support of Citizen Science on our Citizen Science Working Group page.
Citizen Science at your Academic Library: Ideas and Inspiration
The webinar was organised as a collaboration between LIBER and SciStarter, who signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2022. Moderated by SciStarter’s Tara Cox, the online event was structured around three main speakers from academic libraries in the USA and Europe.
KT Vaughan from Washington and Lee University discussed their university course – ‘Crowdsourcing on the Internet’– which equips students with knowledge regarding the social, ethical, cultural and practical issues of managing participatory data collection. The course is unique in that it is supported and taught exclusively by University Library faculty members, and it utilises the SciStarter online modules to give students an introduction to Citizen Science. Students who participate in the study are introduced, usually for the first time, to the benefits of Citizen Science practices, and the role that the academic library can play in facilitating citizen engagement.
Dominic Tate from the University of Edinburgh brought a European perspective. He discussed the University’s Open Research Roadmap, of which Citizen Science and Participatory research makes up one of nine pillars.
‘Libraries have so much to offer – collections, spaces, and services. We may also have existing relationships with community groups.’
Dominic highlighted how the academic library is perfectly placed to facilitate engagement in Citizen Science and advocate for its update. To ensure this position in capitalised upon, the University of Edinburgh has created a specialist role of Library Citizen Science Engagement Officer, to understand and make a roadmap for how the library can support Citizen Science across the University.
Raphaelle Bats discussed a specific Citizen Science project – SPIPOLL – and how the library of the University of Bordeaux has fostered engagement in this project. To combat a lack of data for the SPIPOLL project in the Bordeaux region, the academic library teamed up with university labs and URFIST (University of Bordeaux training unit) for a series of events and exhibitions to promote SPIPOLL. Through collaborative exercises, the expertise of several areas of the University, including the University Library, were brought together to successfully bridge the gap between science and society.
The webinar culminated with a Citizen Science Showroom. Participants from University libraries across Europe presented how their institutions are engaging with Citizen Science practices. We heard from LIBER Members such as UCL Library, National and University Library Zagreb, and the University of Ljubljana Library.
Watch the recording of the event below and view the speakers’ slides.
Where can I learn more about Citizen Science?
SciStarter has a number of free online resources for libraries that can be accessed through their website. The SciStarter Kit Building Guides will help you build and promote Citizen Science kits at your library.
For any questions regarding SciStarter’s work with libraries, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For academic libraries wishing to further Citizen Science at their institutions, read the LIBER Citizen Science Working Group’s ‘Citizen Science for Research Libraries – A Guide’.
Do you work at a LIBER Member Library? Join the LIBER Citizen Science Working Group. The group is currently recruiting new participants of all levels of expertise. Get in touch with group chairs Tiberius Ignat and Thomas Kaarsted for more information.