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Public Underst Sci. 2014 Jan;23(1):107-20. doi: 10.1177/0963662513497324. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Citizen science as seen by scientists: Methodological, epistemological and ethical dimensions.

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Brunel University, UK.


Citizen science as a way of communicating science and doing public engagement has over the past decade become the focus of considerable hopes and expectations. It can be seen as a win-win situation, where scientists get help from the public and the participants get a public engagement experience that involves them in real and meaningful scientific research. In this paper we present the results of a series of qualitative interviews with scientists who participated in the 'OPAL' portfolio of citizen science projects that has been running in England since 2007: What were their experiences of participating in citizen science? We highlight two particular sets of issues that our participants have voiced, methodological/epistemological and ethical issues. While we share the general enthusiasm over citizen science, we hope that the research in this paper opens up more debate over the potential pitfalls of citizen science as seen by the scientists themselves.


citizen science; environment education; public engagement; public participation in scientific research

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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