Blog Post

Special Collection: Biomedical Citizen Science

Call for Abstracts


Special Collection: Biomedical Citizen Science

Issue Editors: Christi Guerrini, Joanna Kempner, Lisa Rasmussen, Anna Wexler

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 by providing a venue for citizen science researchers and practitioners to share best practices in conceiving, developing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining projects that facilitate public participation in scientific endeavors in any discipline.


In recent decades, citizen science projects relevant to medicine and the biosciences have become prevalent. These projects encompass diverse activities that include conducting biological research in home and community laboratories; aggregating health data in online public repositories for research use; and facilitating participation in self-interventions intended to improve health or well-being, treat disease, or enhance bodily functions or capabilities. This special collection will explore how citizen scientists facilitate biomedical discovery and the practical, social, legal, and ethical dimensions of their work. The broad goal of the special collection is to increase awareness of citizen science engagement in the biomedical sciences and promote dialogue among its global stakeholders. Further, improved understanding can support development of best practices in biomedical citizen science and productive relationships between citizen science and institutionalized forms of biomedicine.


We invite proposals for manuscripts about biomedical citizen science, which we broadly define to encompass biomedical study and research conducted outside of traditional scientific institutions. So defined, biomedical science includes (among other activities) laboratory experimentation conducted by citizen scientists at home or in community laboratories; patient-led and patient-centered research and movements; self-experimentation and do-it-yourself (DIY) medicine; body modification and enhancement; and citizen science conducted via digital health platforms. 

We will consider articles directed to a wide variety of topics relevant to biomedical citizen science. These include, for example, articles that address the following domains:

  • Epistemological issues, such as who qualifies as a medical expert and what counts as “good” biomedical citizen science;
  • Ethical issues, such as what forms of ethical oversight should be made available to biomedical citizen science projects, what are the moral claims that patients have to the outputs of these projects, and what are the obligations that project leaders have to their patient participants;
  • Legal issues, such as what are the potential liabilities of community laboratories and self-experimenters; and
  • Practice and process issues, such as how should collaborations on projects involving multiple community laboratories around the world be managed and how can projects ensure the quality of self-reported health data.

We further encourage manuscripts from diverse disciplines, including (but not limited to) biology, medicine, philosophy, sociology, law, and science and technology studies, as well as manuscripts reporting empirical data collected using a range of methods. Robust description of methods for collecting and analyzing data and a statement regarding access to data will be required of all papers reporting empirical data.


The preferred method for submitting an abstract is via this Qualtrics link: CSTP:Biomedical_Special_Collection. However, if you are unable to access or complete the form, submissions will be accepted by email to Whitney Bash-Brooks at (please use subject line “Special Collection”).

The timeline for the special collection is as follows:

  • Call for proposals will be published beginning on October 1, 2021.
  • Abstracts will not be accepted after December 1, 2021.
  • Authors of submitted abstracts will be informed whether they will be invited to submit full papers on a rolling basis through February 1, 2022.
  • Papers will be due May 15, 2022
  • Papers will be sent for peer-review once received. All papers will be reviewed by two reviewers and at least one editor.
  • If accepted for publication, papers will be published in Fall 2022.

If you have questions, please email Whitney Bash-Brooks at

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

Related Posts