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Policy Perspectives on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing: A special issue of CS:TP

Photo credit: Lea Shanley

Guest post by Lea A. Shanley, Alison Parker, Sven Schade, and Aletta Bonn, Guest Editors of the Special Issue.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the publication of the first set of papers for the Journal Citizen Science: Theory and Practice standing special issue titled, “Policy Perspectives on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing.” Full issue available here.

Citizen science and crowdsourcing sit at the intersection of public participation and knowledge production. These approaches can provide the evidence-base to inform a wide range of management and public policy decisions, while at the same time, foster civic partnerships with government. Conversely, the use and impact of citizen science may be constrained by legal, policy, institutional, and regulatory barriers.

To understand the current and potential role of citizen science at all levels of government and in governance more broadly, the manuscripts in this Special Issue address the following questions:

  • What are the opportunities and challenges for citizen science and crowdsourcing to work with decision-makers in governmental, and non-governmental organizations? How do we measure success and impact?
  • How can we make citizen science and crowdsourcing data and information more trustworthy, efficient, and “actionable” for management and public decision-making? 
  • What legal, policy, regulatory, and institutional issues must be considered in citizen science and crowdsourcing projects, and what strategies may increase the impact of citizen science on public sector policies and practices?
  • How can science and technology policy support citizen science and crowdsourcing, either through opening opportunities or mitigating barriers?  

In this Issue

The articles in this issue frame challenges and opportunities for citizen science, crowdsourcing, and policy development and provide relevant case studies in local, regional, national, and international contexts. Topics span from local invasive species management to global sustainable development, and provide both frameworks and recommendations for further consideration. 

The manuscripts in this special issue demonstrate good practice for how citizen science may inform public policy and  offer strategies for how public policy may support citizen science. A second set of manuscripts will be added to this standing Special Issue on Policy Perspectives in early 2020, and then subsequently on a rolling basis.

This special issue can be cited as:

Shanley, L, Parker, A., Schade, S., and Bonn, A.  2019. Policy Perspectives on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 4(1). DOI: 

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