From top-down to bottom-up: Peer production as a means to citizen science throughout the research cycle.

From top-down to bottom-up: Peer production as a means to citizen science throughout the research cycle.

By In PhD proposals 2019 On March 29, 2019

Project: From top-down to bottom-up: Peer production as a means to citizen science throughout the research cycle.

Laboratory: CRI Research

Affiliation: CRI Paris
Address: 8bis Rue Charles V, 75004 Paris, France

LAB Director
Name: Ariel Lindner
Phone number: +1 (510) 944 4298

Name: Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
Phone number: +1 (510) 944 4298

Subject Keywords: citizen science, community science, peer production, science of participation
Summary of lab’s interests: My work aims to bring together topics that span a broad range from biology over citizen/community science to open science/source methodology. Focussing on the field of personalized medicine and personal data re-use, I work across various projects to implement open science ideas and participatory frameworks into citizen/community science projects. Generally, I’m interested in opening up the research process to make it more participatory and inclusive, enabling and empowering citizen scientists to take a more active role in all stages of the process of doing research.
Project summary: In typical Citizen/Community Science efforts, volunteer involvement is limited to data collection or processing, with little evidence that individual participants are empowerment or benefit from an improved understanding of science. Furthermore, the limited involvement of participants results in concerning power asymmetries – especially in health and human subjects research. Mechanism of commons-based peer production and its key characteristics (sharing, intrinsic positive motivation, openness, collaboration, bottom-up innovation, community accountability) are known to facilitate equitable and effective ways of production, e.g. in Wikipedia, Open Street Map and Open Source at large.

In this project we will investigate if and how the principles of commons-based peer production can be utilized to enable better participant involvement across the research cycle in citizen science projects. To that end, we will collect qualitative and quantitative data on how a variety of existing citizen science efforts use peer production characteristics in their design. Analyzing these data will enable us to learn how peer-production methods affect learning and empowerment outcomes for volunteer participants. Based on those results we will model an intervention in which we will implement successful peer production characteristics in citizen science communities and study whether this leads to an improvement in participant outcomes.

Interdisciplinary aspect of the project: Due to its nature, the project is highly collaborative, decentralized and interdisciplinary. It involves understanding and working closely with a diverse group of citizen science communities across scientific disciplines, with a focus on the biological & natural sciences. It also involves research into the governance models of citizen science & commons-based peer production, relying on science, technology and society studies. Furthermore, for the collection and analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data methods of both the social sciences as well as statistics/data sciences will be employed.

Funding: 3 years of funding through a CRI long-term fellowship