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Calling Citizen Scientists

Biodiversity search at night. Source: Museum Victoria

An Australian Citizen Science Network

The Citizen Science Network Australia (CSNA) is a new national initiative to develop a community of practice in support of the burgeoning population of citizen science stakeholders within Australia. A variety of stakeholders met for the first time at Queensland Museum in Brisbane on the 6th of May, 2014 to support the formation of the CSNA.

In the morning, participants heard from Suzanne Miller (CEO, Queensland Museum) and Chris Gillies (Director of Science, Earthwatch Australia) on the need to establish a national association and how different stakeholders can work collaboratively to promote the growth of citizen science within Australia.

Phillip Roetman (Barbra Hardy Institute, University of South Australia) presented the results of the first Australia-wide survey on citizen science and Libby Hepburn (Atlas of Life in the Coastal Wilderness) presented an overview of the development of the European Citizen Science Association. A 10 minute video on the US-based Citizen Science Association was also shown, produced by Abe Miller-Rushing and Jennifer Lynn Shirk.

The morning overview was followed by two (40 minute) panel sessions led by Jayne Keane (Queensland Museum) and featured citizen science stakeholders representing a range of perspectives. All of the panel members were then included in an open Q&A discussion with workshop participants.

There was overwhelming agreement amongst the workshop participants regarding the formation of a national association/network to progress citizen science within Australia.

Video of the proceedings and further information on the CSNA is available here.

Since this inaugural workshop event, four working groups (entity & governance, mission & objectives, communication, funding) each led by a voluntary convener have been collaborating in a concerted effort to drive the network toward incorporation.

Further information about the workshop and the CSNA’s mission and objectives can be found at

European white paper on citizen science out

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, Ecsite, the European network of science centres and museums, has released a white paper aiming to “support policy makers on European, national and regional level when setting up future strategies of civic engagement in the excellence of science”.

The paper defines the characteristics of citizen science and maps challenges at macro and micro level.

The white paper can be read here.