Citizen Science and Environmental Agencies

Citizen Science and Environmental Agencies

by Kasantha Moodley, Manager, Environmental Law Institute Innovation Lab, for the Law and Policy Working Group. Cover of Citizen Science Programs at Environmental Agencies report Environmental agencies are increasingly transforming their approach to citizen science, from viewing it as a source of data primarily for education and awareness to a potential source of concrete value for their programs. Although this relationship has existed for some time, the emergence of new technologies, an increasingly aware public, and the rise of unexpected pollution events has reinvigorated the way agencies and the public work together. The Environmental Law Institute was recently asked by…
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Supporting Environmental Democracy and the Aarhus Convention

Supporting Environmental Democracy and the Aarhus Convention

By Muki Haklay, Lea Shanley, Anna Berti Suman, Sven Schade, Dorte Riemenschneider, Nora Salas Seoane, Rosa Arias, and Simone Reufenacht for the Law and Policy Working Group. This year the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) issued a call for consultation on “Recommendations on electronic information tools,” which is part of the Aarhus Convention process. The Aarhus Convention establishes a set of rights for public access to environmental information, participation in decision making, and access to justice. In the revised recommendations that updates the 2005 version, Citizen science falls within the range of information sources that should be used in…
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Science by the People

Science by the People

Post by George Wyeth, cochair of the Law and Policy Working Group. Prof. Abby Kinchy The potential for science to be used by ordinary citizens as a tool for social change is both empowering and controversial. On the Law and Policy Working Group's January teleconference, guest presenter Prof. Abby Kinchy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute explored the issues surrounding the use of citizen science (or community-based science) in the policy sphere.  She drew from her recent book, “Science by the People: Participation, Power and Politics of Public Knowledge” (co-authored with Prof. Aya Hirata Kimura of the University of Hawaii).   After…
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Webinar: Balancing Citizen Science Data Collection Needs and Privacy Protections

Webinar: Balancing Citizen Science Data Collection Needs and Privacy Protections

Date: Friday, January 24, 2019, from 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM ESTRegister here: http://bit.ly/CSAwebinarPrivacy  The Law and Policy Working Group will be presenting another webinar in their ongoing series. This webinar will focus on privacy and citizen science. Privacy discussions tend to revolve around the implications of passive collection of individuals’ data. What is often overlooked, however, is the different phenomenon of the active sharing of data within the framework of Citizen Science projects. Starting from this premise, this webinar will explore  – from the perspectives of academic researchers, practitioners, and project leaders – what are the challenges of meeting…
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Policy Perspectives on Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing: A special issue of CS:TP

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…
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CSA Webinar: Approaching Informed Consent in Citizen Science: Legal and Ethical Issues

CSA Webinar: Approaching Informed Consent in Citizen Science: Legal and Ethical Issues

Register Here Presented by the Law and Policy Working Group and Ethics Working Group Date: Friday, November 22, 2019, from 1:00 PM to 2:15 PM EST How do we know when citizen science contributors consent to participation in a research project? What are the risks to citizen science contributors (e..g, privacy and security) and citizen science project owners, respectively? Sometimes citizen science research is subject to federal regulations related to consent, and sometimes it is not. In this webinar, we will briefly review the laws, regulations, and ethical perspectives on informed consent in the United States. Specifically, this webinar will…
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Law & Policy Working Group Hosts Webinar to Launch Question Submission Tool

Law & Policy Working Group Hosts Webinar to Launch Question Submission Tool

By Shaun Goho, George Wyeth, and Lea Shanley, CSA Law and Policy Working Group Lea Shanley, Shaun Goho, and George Wyeth. Photos courtesy of authors. Citizen science practitioners can run into a variety of questions about the laws that affect how they can conduct their work, and how their data may be used by government agencies or courts.  For example, citizen scientists may want to know whether they need to get a permit before gathering data in state parks, whether there are limits on what activities they can carry out near pollution sources designated as “critical infrastructure,” or what data…
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Toward Citizen Science Policy Outcomes

Toward Citizen Science Policy Outcomes

By: Kasantha Moodley and George Wyeth of the Environmental Law Institute for the Law and Policy Working Group  In ways that did not exist even ten years ago, everyday people are acting as scientists: contributing their time and data to make notable discoveries, answer lingering questions, and develop awareness. Motivated by technology innovations, public concern, and limited institutional capacity, citizen scienceis gently reshaping the conventional systems that address human health and environmental protection.  Particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements were at one time the sole purview of government agencies, usually sampled only across broad regional areas.…
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