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Special Issue Call for Papers: Policy Perspectives in Citizen Science

Special Issue Call for Papers: Policy Perspectives in Citizen Science

Issue editors: Lea A. Shanley, Anne Bowser, and Aletta Bonn

Citizen science and crowdsourcing enable the public to make meaningful contributions to scientific and engineering research and monitoring. These approaches also produce accurate data to inform a wide range of management and public policy issues while encouraging civic partnerships with government at all levels:

  • Through local scale activities, as demonstrated through drinking water quality monitoring in Flint, Michigan;
  • Through national or supranational scale activities, as revealed in the National Telecommunications & Information Administration’s National Broadband Map; and,
  • Through local-to global scale activities, including the inclusion of participatory monitoring and management in international biodiversity assessments.

Conversely, the impact of citizen science on public policy is often constrained by legal, policy, and institutional barriers, which consider issues including privacy, liability, physical and intellectual property, data quality assurance (or “fitness for use”), and organizational cultural change, among others. This special issue of the Citizen Science Journal will invite contributions that explore the ways in which citizen science may inform management and public policy, or that examine the legal, policy, and organizational challenges to conducting citizen science, including strategies for improving bureaucratic processes to increase the impact of citizen science on public sector policies and practices.
Among many possible citizen science and public policy issues, this Special Issue could address the following:

  • What are the opportunities for citizen science to work with decision-makers in all levels of government, indigenous communities, and NGOs to inform management and shape public policy? How do we measure success and impact?
  • How can science and technology policy be crafted to support citizen science, either through opening opportunities or mitigating barriers?
  • What legal issues must be considered and addressed when developing and implementing citizen science projects?
  • How do we make citizen science data information more trustworthy, efficient, and actionable for management and public decision-making? What do concepts like “fitness for purpose” mean in practice?

This special issue invites research articles and research perspectives along with articles in other formats, such as essays, as outlined on the Theory and Practice website.

Abstracts (250-300 words) for proposed papers due by March 1, 2018 to the Editorial team (

Notification of accepted abstracts by April 1, 2018

2-Page extended abstract (750-1,000 words) of approved contributions due by May 1, 2018 to the Editorial team (

Submissions of full approved papers due by September 1, 2018 at

With questions about this issue, contact

Citizen Science: Theory and Practice is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal providing a central space for cross-disciplinary scholarly exchanges aimed at advancing the field of citizen science. It focuses on advancing the field of citizen science by providing a venue for citizen science researchers and practitioners – scientists, information technologists, conservation biologists, community health organizers, educators, evaluators, urban planners, and more – to share best practices in conceiving, developing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining projects that facilitate public participation in scientific endeavors in any discipline.

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