Managing Citizen Science in the Humanities: The challenge of ensuring quality

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal (EDEP)

Abstract

Nowadays, the organization of work and leisure time, the way we communicate and explore the world, are no longer subject to space and time constraints. The development and growth of the Internet has been essential in the emergence of new forms of organizing human activities. This dissertation examines the phenomenon of citizen science, which refers to a participative form of organizing and conducting scientific research, by involving citizens in the collection and processing of data through the Internet. In citizen science, citizens voluntarily contribute their time and knowledge to perform specific tasks to support scientific research projects. Citizen science has the potential to improve the public understanding of science, increase the time and resource efficiency of research projects and reach individuals with specialized or rare knowledge (Brabham, 2013; Franzoni & Sauermann, 2014; Shirk et al., 2012). However, the quality of citizen science outcomes is a recurring point of concern in the scientific community in general (Oomen & Aroyo, 2011; Riesch & Potter, 2014; Sheppard, Wiggins, & Terveen, 2014; Wiggins et al., 2011). This concern stems from the need for quality of information inherent to scientific research, the existence of knowledge differences between scientists and the public (Miller, 2001), and the knowledge uncertainty of involving unknown citizens into a research project. That is, compared to other citizens, scientists go through lengthy and rigorous training to become experts in specific topics. Moreover, citizen science projects are characterized by open participation, meaning that citizens unknown to the project leader are free to participate. Quality concerns about the outcomes of citizen science seem therefore well justified.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Huysman, Marleen, Supervisor, External person
  • Berends, Hans, Co-supervisor, External person
  • Soekijad, Maura, Co-supervisor, External person
Award date14 Jun 2017
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
EditionABRI Dissertation Series
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789051709964
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Citizen Science
  • Quality
  • Knowledge Management
  • Humanities
  • Organizational learning
  • Affordances

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