International organisations

Decorative photo; World map, Poland, Cezary from Pixabay

Österreich forscht (»Austria discovers«)

Several EU nations acknowledge the significance of citizen science, with numerous projects serving as benchmarks for implementation in Slovenia, particularly those from countries with similar contexts. Austria’s efforts in advancing citizen science serve as a notable example of effective practices.

The systematic active involvement of the interested general public in scientific research in Austria has been ongoing since 2014, when the Citizen Science Platform was established Österreich forscht (»Austria discovers«). The platform aims to facilitate connections among citizen science participants throughout Austria, enhance and maintain the quality of citizen science initiatives, and showcase ongoing projects to a curious audience, irrespective of their institutional affiliation or scientific discipline.

The first Austrian Citizen Science Conference is organised in 2015. During this time, 9 projects were listed on the platform, mainly in the natural sciences (e.g. Phenowatch, Stunde der Wintervögel BirdLife Austria, GeoWiki IIASA, Wiener Gebäudebrüter MA22 and others). Since the conference, several projects have joined the Platform and are now coming from other fields of science, such as the social sciences and the humanities (e.g. BrotZeit in ExploreAT). In 2016, a person was recruited at the Universität für Bodenkultur Wien in Vienna to manage and coordinate Österreich forscht. 2017 was an important year for Österreich forscht due to three decisions:

The Citizen Science Network Austria (CSNA) was set up with the aim of institutionalising the participation of the various stakeholders in the Österreich forscht.

First, a working group within the Österreich forscht was set up with the aim of developing transparent and valid criteria to help the platform operators decide whether a project applying for listing on the Österreich forscht should be listed as a citizen science project or not.

The choice to make the Citizen Science Conference highly accessible to different stakeholders within the research community and the general public has significantly broadened participation. Notably, there’s been a surge in presentations from projects in the humanities and social sciences at the conference, with many subsequently joining the platform. This openness also allows the wider public to engage directly with citizen science practices. These strategic decisions have fostered a more inclusive, diverse, and esteemed citizen science community.

Today, more than 70 ongoing or completed projects in the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts are listed on the Österreich forscht platform. CSNA currently has 37 members, including universities, NGOs, museums, associations, companies and other educational institutions.

Citizen science in Austria has been well supported financially over the years. Already in 2007, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) organised the “Sparkling Science” project, which from 2007 to 2019 actively involved schoolchildren of all school levels and civil society in various citizen science projects. As part of the project Sparkling Science  299 projects were funded over the years, with a budget of €34.7 million. A total of 1,129 calls for proposals were registered, which means that 22% of applications were successful. Of the projects funded, 54 were in primary and secondary schools. The total funding for these projects amounted to €194,500. Projects lasted on average 28 months and school projects 15 months. The success of the Sparkling Science programme has prompted the funder to launch a new citizen science funding programme in autumn 2021 Sparkling Science 2.0

Bürger schaffen Wissen (Citizens create knowledge)

Bürger schaffen Wissen (Citizens create knowledge) is the central platform for citizen science in Germany, presenting, connecting and supporting citizen science projects since November 2013.

An important role of the platform is the development of a citizen science network, different modes of education for different user groups and the promotion of citizen science.

Bürger schaffen Wissen is a joint project of the non-profit organisation Communicating Science   Wissenschaft im Dialog (gGmbH) and natural museum Museum für Naturkunde v Berlinu. It is financed by Federal Ministry of Education and Research  (BMBF).

Citizen Science Network Switzerland (Citizen science office in Switzerland)

Citizen Science Network Switzerland (Citizen science office in Switzerland) was established in 2015 in response to the need for a variety of citizen science project implementers in Switzerland. It manages the citizen science platform Schweiz forscht (Switzerland Explores).

The Office has the following areas of responsibility:

managing Citizen Science Network Switzerland,

managing platform schweizforscht.ch,

a contact point for various stakeholders (media, universities, research organisations…)

International cooperation and monitoring of international developments in citizen science.

In December 2021, the Swiss Academies’ Board of Directors assigned a task to the Centre of Excellence Science et Cité for the “Citizen Science in Switzerland: Contextual Analysis, Recommendations and Roadmap” project. This initiative is part of the strategic goals under the Swiss Academies Initiative 2021-23 (ICSA+) and commenced in 2022. An expert group was established within the project’s scope to collaborate with the Citizen Science Network Switzerland and the Schweiz forscht platform, aiming to formulate a citizen science development strategy in Switzerland.

Science et Cité, an independent, non-profit entity, is dedicated to fostering the dialogue between science and the public, enhancing respect and comprehension of scientific endeavors, and building connections between researchers and the broader community.

The organization partners with entities from the educational, business, cultural, and political sectors to achieve its goals.

CitizenScience.gov (ZDA)

CitizenScience.gov is the US government’s official website for supporting citizen science projects. The website comprises three key sections: project catalogue, which is supported by the american government,  a tool to support citizen science projects and an online hub for connecting stakeholders and finding volunteer researchers. The US government has passed specific legislation to regulate the recruitment and role of volunteer researchers in citizen science projects in the US Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2016 (15 USC 3724).

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