Citizen Science Working Group

Open Science Meets Citizen Science – A Guide

Posted: 24-05-2024 Topics: Citizen Science Open Science

By Simon Worthington & Thomas Kaarsted, Co-Editors-in-Chief of the Citizen Science for Research Libraries. 


LIBER is pleased to announce the launch of the Citizen Science guide for research libraries Open Science Meets Citizen Science edited by Bastian Greshake Tzovaras of The Alan Turing Institute. This is the third section of the guide series Citizen Science for Research Libraries. The guide series is brought to you by the LIBER Citizen Science Working Group. 

This guide is intended as a practical support resource for research libraries looking to support their research communities in developing their citizen science project. In the guide, you will find contributions from leading practitioners and reports on the lessons learned from well established projects. The guide is peer reviewed and published as open access and as multi-format, with additional interoperable formats for reuse. 

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Open science brings an expanding field of new practices, methods, and frameworks for use in citizen science — many of which are often already situated in the research library — for example: Open Education Resources (OER), FAIR Data with research data management, and Open Access services and support. The guide covers questions of how to implement open science practices in general in your citizen science project, the ethical considerations for data and citizen’s personal data as is now commonplace from health and fitness wearable devices, an in-depth exploration of the area of open hardware for instruments to use in citizen projects, and a look how the Wikimedia Foundation platforms and programmes intersects with citizen science. 


Changing the culture of science and focusing on the scientific benefits for society is now a well-established anchoring for open science and give a clear connection to citizen science practice and values. Open science values are perfectly summarized in the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science as: quality and integrity; collective benefit; equality and fairness, and; diversity and inclusion. The culture of open science is about adopting these values in such areas as collaboration, research assessment, people’s well-being, and delivering on equality and inclusion. 

How to make use of what is available from open science is covered in the article ‘Implementing Open Science Practices into a Citizen Science Project’. The use of data is an area that is well-supported by open science in terms of data analysis tool like R and Jupyter Notebooks that have democratized data science and allow easy use and analysis by the interested public. Additionally, the collecting, handling, and open publishing of data is extensively supported by literature for Research Data Management plans that feature citizen science. 

If ‘inclusion and empowerment’ are a priority for researchers leading citizen science projects then the article ‘Ethical Practices for Citizen Science’ has as a roadmap for thinking through the issue involved aimed at creating genuine engagement and a community-led use-case with the project ‘AutSPACEs‘. Creating safe spaces for participants is now a familiar practice with the use of Codes of Conduct, but here again the detail counts — with a recommendation from the article being to co-write a Codes of Conduct with members of the group involved in a citizen science project. Codes of Conduct are a good point in case as they have been championed by the open science movement and reflect the more recent shift in open science to questions of values — inclusion issue of gender, race, and knowledge equity — in addition to the earlier work on technical infrastructures, and being open. 

Open Hardware comes from communities of practice, the maker movement and Fab Labs as well as open-source software. Both the maker movement and open-source are popular hobbies, with supporting online communities and in fact whole industries, which means there is a low barrier participants engagement. For the purpose of engaging in research Open Hardware provides open licenced designs, plans, instructions, and training, as well as low entry pricing — this becomes especially import in Global South contexts. Two example featured projects are: Audiomoth a microelectronics audio receiver used in tracking moths, and; OpenFlexure which utilises 3D printing to a manufacture precision microscope.  

The Wikimedia Foundation with its suite of platforms and public engagement programmes is an interesting interface for researchers to work with the public. In terms of platforms Wikimedia has: Wikipedia, Wikibase, Wiki Commons, and Wikiversity to mention a few — but all have the foundation in the Wiki idea of an open and editable democratic Web. In addition to the platforms there are also the programmes that the foundation runs. Featured in the guide are the Open Science Fellows Program and Wikimedian in Residence.  

Open Science Meets Citizen Science will be followed by one more section in the series of four guide sections that have made up this first volume from the working group. The final section will look at issues related to rolling out a programme in the institutional context. The current volume put in place the vision as established by the working group of sharing practical experience from research library and citizen science community.  

To take the publishing project forward and to accommodate what has been an expanding working group which now has thirty-three members from eighteen countries — so the editorial model is also evolving as the working group goes into its second term. Going forwards the editorial team has been expanded to ten members and the editorial agenda will attempt to track and represent the strategic directions of the wider working group’s activities. The strategic directions are: training for leadership teams, training for librarians, design library services, advocacy of citizen science for the non-library, how to show impact/measuring, university management, and citizen science in the curriculum. 

Publication details 

Open Science Meets Citizen Science 

Section Editor Bastian Greshake Tzovaras 

v1.0, 2024 

Series: Citizen Science for Research Libraries — A Guide 

Co-Editors-in-Chief: Thomas Kaarsted & Simon Worthington. Correspondence Editors: Alisa Martek and Dragana Janković. Reviewers: Dr Raphaëlle Bats, Sara Decoster, Jitka Stilund Hansen, Tiberius Ignat, and Mitja V. Iskrić. 

Editorial Committee: Paul Ayris (Chair), Bastian Greshake Tzovaras, Jitka Stilund Hansen, and Kirsty Wallis. 

DOI:10.25815/2tj5-0289 | ISBN Print:978-87-94345-90-3 e‑book:978-87-94345-91-0 | Wikidata: Q125808304 

Web: | Source: | Series: 

Published by LIBER Citizen Science Working Group. 

The guide is part of a themed series of four sections — skills, infrastructures, open science, and programme development — based on the LIBER Open Science Roadmap that runs through 2027. 

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Cover: Open Science Meets Citizen Science. Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 4.0 International License 

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