Citizen Science, known as the participation of individuals and groups in scientific processes, is an increasingly growing discipline, which can contribute for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is all-inclusive, where every contribution is valid. Participation, partnerships, education, sustainable living and global citizenship, all of which can build on Citizen Science activities, are crucial for the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context, this study aims at exploring several collaboration channels for Citizen Science-related activities and the Agenda 2030. Challenges and critical aspects are discussed based on the opinions of practitioners collected through a comprehensive online survey. Furthermore, recommendations for future involvement are given on a framework of interactions at different levels for Citizen Science and the Agenda 2030.
Introducing citizen science
Citizen Science (CS) works alongside science, education, and civic engagement and is increasingly being a discipline in its own right (Science Europe, 2018). There are several definitions, but CS is often considered as the participation of lay people, individuals, or groups in scientific processes (Kullenberg and Kasperowski, 2016). These contributions differ from informal learning due to engagement in science-related processes (Jordan et al., 2012), such as modelling, new discoveries, observations, data collections and analyses, technological processes, and evidence-based policies (Raddick et al., 2009).
Citizen Science has existed for a long time, but it has especially expanded in recent years due to more collaborations between volunteers and researchers, emerging technologies and new ways of data collection such as crowdsourcing, digital sharing, online projects and social networks (Socientize, 2013). Common synonyms for CS are “amateur science,” “crowd sourced science,” “volunteer monitoring,” and “public participation in scientific research” (https://scistarter.org/citizen-science). A citizen scientist, without necessarily a scientific background, volunteers to collect or process data for scientific research (Silvertown, 2009). CS has changed the professional-amateur relationship because of an increased accessibility to the internet and tolerance of the web (Dowthwaite and Sprinks, 2019). The field of CS is growing towards scientific literature and policy making, but there is a need to foster trust in CS results, so to increase their use and consequently strengthen the field (Rasmussen, 2019).