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SPECIAL COLLECTION: Citizen Science in Higher Education

Special Collection: Citizen Science in Higher Education


Issue Editors: Colleen Hitchcock*, Heather Vance-Chalcraft, Maria Aristeidou

*Corresponding editor

Image: Online citizen science photo courtesy of Colleen Hitchcock

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.


We invite contributions about the use of citizen science in higher education for a special collection of the Journal.

The possibilities for citizen and community science integration in higher education seem limitless. Citizen science is a way to increase student engagement, highlight the applied relevance of course activities, introduce students to the principles of research, provide access to data sets, and provide pathways for inclusion of science in students’ lives outside of courses. This special collection will explore the ways both online and field-based citizen science can be integrated in higher education as a tool for teaching and learning, professional development, and community building. In addition to sharing ways instructors use citizen science in their courses, the special collection will highlight ways in which citizen science project developers and data end users can make projects more accessible to undergraduate classrooms. The goal is to increase dialogue and idea exchange about citizen science in higher education between stakeholders (project developers, project evaluators, data end users, course instructors, students, and the broader higher education community). Papers that demonstrate engaging students from minority and underserved groups would be particularly welcome.

The USE Cit Sci Network will cover the publication costs of up to 10 papers by Network members. Any interested parties are welcome to join the USE Cit Sci Network


Authors are invited to submit proposals that include sharing examples of citizen science as a tool for active engagement, inquiry, independent study, mentorship/internship, the assessment of learning or engagement in any of the aforementioned examples, and examples of citizen science to facilitate community building in the higher education environment are invited to submit proposals for peer-review. In this special collection, we seek a range of papers including research papers, review and synthesis papers, case studies, essays, and method papers as described by Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. These examples may include (but are not limited to):

  • Experiences with curricular engagement of undergraduate/graduate students
  • Opportunities/challenges offered by citizen science 
  • Student feedback to research experiences 
  • Ideas for co-curricular inclusion (clubs, dorms, teams, and hotspots)
  • Design and development recommendations for citizen science tools to include higher education communities
  • Learning/evaluation approaches 
  • Data quality assessment methods
  • Campus-community connections via citizen science and the perspective of non-academic partners on the benefits and challenges to partnering with those in higher education
  • Potential usefulness of classroom contributions to the scientific community
  • Student and faculty professional development in citizen science


  • Call for abstracts: October 2020
  • Closing date for abstracts: December 2, 2020
  • Notification of accepted abstracts: December 18, 2020
  • Papers due: April 1, 2021
    • Papers will be sent for peer-review once received. Peer-review to be performed March 1 – May 15. All papers to be reviewed by two reviewers and one editor. 
  • Paper Acceptance Notification: June 1.


Preferred method of abstract submission is via this google form ( Please email ( with subject line ‘CSA Special Collection’ if unable to submit via form.

Please review in advance the journal’s scope, author guidelines, and information on publication fees at

With any questions, please email Colleen Hitchcock (

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