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This special event is co-organised by the Data Science Centre and Institute for Advanced Study. It is delivered in the context of the Lorentz workshop 'How to evaluate emerging knowledge infrastructures'.
Event details of How to evaluate knowledge infrastructures for citizen science
16 April 2024
15:00 -17:00

Citizen science initiatives are often regarded as a way to gather data more efficiently and cheaply or as a means for public engagement and impact. Typically, much effort goes into ‘cleaning’ of messy data and into disciplining data gathering, so that the data can be valuable for scientific research. But citizen science can also be a way to respond to different challenges and threats, by increasing engagement with issues, enabling or extending data collection or providing access to new sources of data. All this can help knowledge infrastructures to maintain their legitimacy, funding, or relevance. In such circumstances, citizen science becomes a diverse set of practices that allow for different kinds of engagement by those who do not primarily identify as professional scientists. This has meant in some cases an intensification of data gathering, changes in scale or scope of knowledge infrastructures, or a reorientation of the research agenda and novel modes of knowledge production.  

Citizen science can address data equity by remedying blind spots or creating new data flows, it can decrease epistemic injustice by making other knowledge visible (deep local knowledge of biodiversity and ecology), it can generate data at a scale that is more relevant for action (data at relevant scale for pollution, climate mitigation) or constitute an entry into processes of governance (contributions to regulatory processes).

As different values (engagement rather than excellence, or access rather than performance) become more prominent, this also affects how assessment can best be organised. How can we ascertain that knowledge infrastructures based on citizen science are performing well and reaching their goals? Which kinds of tools, indicators and evaluation protocols would be suitable? How can evaluation help support shifts from data gathering platforms to infrastructures that support knowledge for liveable futures?

This event will be the occasion to focus on the relationship between assessment of citizen science and specific values. We will work on elaborating a register of kinds of assessment of citizen science knowledge infrastructure, reflect on the assumptions of such assessments and articulate potential approaches to assessment that would do justice to the range of values that drive them.

Three speakers will highlight how different values enter their work on citizen science, as input to get us thinking about how different assumptions about what matters shapes how we might evaluate citizen science infrastructures.

If you wish to attend this event, please send an email to Anne Beaulieu at .

About the Speakers

  • Dr Paula Helm (DSC Member and Assistant Professor at University of Amsterdam), Language Digitization in the Amazon Assemblage. Collaborating with the Sateré-Mawe to design a pluriversal database for indigenous languages.
  • Dr Carol Garzon Lopez (Assistant Professor at University of Groningen), Biodiversity monitoring in Latin America. The role of values for transformative change