Blog Post

The best of 2023

It is a pleasure to share with you our now-annual review of highlights in what has been a landmark year for this Association. 

We are proud to support your work in this field through services, commitments, and partnerships. In the coming year, you can anticipate some new offerings and some upgrades to the ways we deliver resources (this message contains previews of a few).

In this year’s round-up of resources there’s an emerging theme of the power of working together across boundaries. Whether you are here for cutting edge research, reviews of tools, principled practices, ideas and inspiration, or opportunities to get involved, there is something in this list for you – brought to you by… 

… thousands of volunteers

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… who have helped build this Association. An October event celebrated many (is your name in this program?), and also announced new awards for outstanding service (including the Dana Rotman Award for Student Research and the Rick Bonney Award for Leadership).

Our resource pick:  A glimpse of the future via one-minute videos from that event answering the questions, “What is the biggest opportunity to advance the participatory sciences in the next ten years? What can an Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences do to support this?” 

… peers, as reviewers and editors.

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In that tally of volunteers:  hundreds of anonymous reviewers who help make sure that Citizen Science: Theory & Practice publishes high-value content. There’s a reviewer drive happening right now – here’s how you can get involved

Our resource pick:  Any of the 65 (and counting) free-to-read articles in the journal. Depending on your interests, you may want to start with one of two special collections (one relating to Sustainable Development Goals, the other to legal issues and opportunities).

… everyone engaging across disciplines and perspectives

Orange, brown, and green logo of the C*Sci Conference, highlighting a starburst to the left of large letters C*SCI. A green bar below those letters contains the words Virtual May 15-June 2, and the year 2023 is in green to the right of that bar. Below that, brown text reads May 22-26, Phoenix, AZ.

… finally again in person! Hundreds of people convened at Arizona State University – and even more engaged online and through community-embedded events. Deep discussions, cross-sector collaborations, and advancing a research agenda were hallmarks of C*Sci2023.

Our resource pick:  The event included the Arizona premiere of the online series, WILD HOPE, by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, highlighting “unexpected alliances” for collaborative research, monitoring, and decision-making.

… federal partnerships.

C*Sci23 also featured NASA-led and -funded projects, thanks to that agency’s investment in the success of their grantee’s efforts. Through an ongoing partnership with this Association and with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI), NASA also helped bring to light other federal funding opportunities for work in this field.

Our resource pick: Anyone investigating online tools for projects should dig into this concise and thoughtful survey of platforms curated through the above partnership.

Bonus resource pick: If you are interested in participating in (or sharing) earth and space science, check out monthly (past and future) Do NASA Science LIVE opportunities curated by SciStarter.

… equitable partnerships.

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The recipients of the first Rick Bonney Award for Leadership were the leaders of this Association’s Environmental Justice Practitioners Working Group (EJP – all named here). With funding from the Rita Allen Foundation, they have begun curating Tools for Equitable Research Partnerships and developing a related suite of training and consulting services that offer their expertise to scientists interested in partnering with communities (the team piloted a workshop in Tempe).

Our resource pick: Leaders from the EJP gave a talk on this work at the American Geophysical Union conference in December. This two minute introduction to that talk gives the briefest summary of why their efforts (and this partnership) are both important and unprecedented.

… many histories, traditions, and related practices.

Centuries of amateur astronomy. Emerging AI-enabled online projects. Monitoring backyard streams. Documenting cancer clusters. Digitizing biological collections. Tracking landscape changes from space. 

These are just a few of the areas where research and monitoring is made more powerful by contributions from beyond the bounds of scientific institutions. They all require multiple perspectives, backgrounds, and skillsets. This Association builds cross-cutting connections to exchange ideas, challenge assumptions, and inspire new work to advance effective and equitable projects. 

To better engage and reflect the many and varied histories, traditions, and approaches that enrich work in this fieldin 2024 we are becoming the Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences.

New logo of the Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences. The logo features three partially interlocking disks, one each in orange (at the top), yellow (bottom left), and red (bottom right). Outlined in white where the three disks would overlap as the center of a Venn Diagram, is a deep purple shield shape. Below that are the large capital letters AAPS in the same deep purple. Text at the bottom reads, in two lines separated by a yellow line, Association for Advancing Participatory Sciences.

In the coming weeks you will see a number of changes to the Association’s visual identity, including a refreshed website and the formal use of our new logo, name, and URL:  www.participatorysciences.org. Though things may look different (better, we hope!), all of the programs, people, and events you have come to know and trust will remain the same.

We are also excited about the next phase of growth. Here are a few new things already underway for 2024: 

  • building out the new Awards Program
    • partnering with local hosts for conferencing closer to home
    • inviting multiple language contributions to the virtual conference 
    • sharing resources and services for equitable research partnerships

There is such a big future ahead of us in the new year, and we look forward to sharing it with you.

With thanks and best wishes for 2024! 

~~Jennifer, Reanna, and all at AAPS

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