Post by Ruthanna Gordon, Ph.D. She is a steering committee member of the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science.
One strength of citizen science is in its ability to gather granular, hyper-local data—and to bring that data together into a big-picture understanding of what’s happening nationally or globally. How are patterns of rainfall shifting around the world—and how does that affect what I see in my garden? Citizen science and crowdsourcing projects can take place at either scale — or both. And some projects move between scales, either growing from the seed of a single community’s research or finding focused applications for large-scale observations.
Last year, the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science – Fed CCS — was honored as a finalist for the Harvard Ash Innovations in American Government Award. The Ash Center provides finalists resources to scale their innovative work, by sharing their lessons with other organizations that could take advantage of them. For our community, already built around a mission to facilitate networking among a wide range of projects at a wide range of scales, this prompted us to think more deeply about what it means to scale. Is bigger always better? What are the best ways for projects to learn from each other? How do the power and practice of citizen science change as the size of the project changes? We’ve partnered with the Woodrow Wilson Center, leveraging the Ash Award prize, to share the discussion that’s grown from those questions. This coming Friday, December 14th, we invite you to join the conversation at Sharing Across Scales in Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing.
For this symposium, we’ve invited panelists representing projects that work at many scales and in many disciplines. From disaster response to personalized health care, these projects represent the myriad ways that citizen science and crowdsourcing gather, analyze, and apply data for individuals and communities as well as countries and the entire globe—and even occasionally beyond! We’re asking them how they apply lessons across scales, and how they find the right scale to make the greatest impact. And we’re asking about next steps: how can new projects find the best models for their work,even if those lessons come from projects with very different sizes or settings? And what can larger communities do to facilitate sharing those lessons?
In the spirit of sharing across scales, this event will not only take place live at the Wilson Center, but will be streamed on the website. We’ll have opportunities for participation online through the #CitSciScales hashtag on Twitter, and through Mentimeter, inviting your input on open questions in citizen science and crowdsourcing. We hope you’ll join us, and join in the discussion! Dr. Caren Cooper, SciStarter’s Director of Partnerships, will give the keynote address, and Caroline Nickerson, SciStarter’s Managing Editor, will be there. Feel free to say hello!