Citizen Science and Sustainability Transitions

37 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2020 Last revised: 23 Mar 2020

See all articles by Henry Sauermann

Henry Sauermann

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Katrin Vohland

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Vyron Antoniou

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Balint Balazs

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Claudia Göbel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kostas Karatzas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Mooney

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Josep Perelló

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Marisa Ponti

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Roeland Samson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Silvia Winter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: March 21, 2020

Abstract

Citizen Science (CS) projects involve members of the general public as active participants in research. Different proponents of this approach – including professional scientists, civil society groups, as well as policy makers – hope that it can increase scientific knowledge production but also bridge the gap between science and the broader society. In this paper, we discuss how both aspects can allow Citizen Science to have even more fundamental impacts by supporting sustainability transitions in areas such as renewable energy, public health, or environmental conservation. We first highlight three pathways through which such impacts can occur: (1) Problem identification and agenda setting; (2) Resource mobilization; and (3) Facilitating socio-technical co-evolution. To realize this potential, however, CS needs to address challenges that emerge especially in the context of sustainability transitions: Increasing the diversity, level, and intensity of participation; addressing the social as well as technical nature of sustainability problems; and reducing tensions between CS and the traditional institution of academic science. Grounded in a review of academic literature and policy reports as well as a broad range of case examples, this article contributes to scholarship on science, innovation, and sustainability transitions. We also offer insights for actors involved in initiating or institutionalizing Citizen Science efforts, including project organizers, funding agencies, and policy makers.

Keywords: Citizen Science, Crowd Science, Co-Design, Sustainability Transitions, Science and Innovation Studies, Science Education

Suggested Citation

Sauermann, Henry and Vohland, Katrin and Antoniou, Vyron and Balazs, Balint and Göbel, Claudia and Karatzas, Kostas and Mooney, Peter and Perelló, Josep and Ponti, Marisa and Samson, Roeland and Winter, Silvia, Citizen Science and Sustainability Transitions (March 21, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3511088 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3511088

Henry Sauermann (Contact Author)

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

Katrin Vohland

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Invalidenstr. 43
Berlin, 10115
Germany

Vyron Antoniou

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Balint Balazs

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Claudia Göbel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Kostas Karatzas

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Mooney

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Josep Perelló

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Marisa Ponti

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Roeland Samson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Silvia Winter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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