James Borrell is a biodiversity scientist and science communicator researching how people and nature can adapt to environmental change.

10 Lessons From A Year Of Citizen Science (My talk from the Citizen Cyberscience Summit)

Last week I was privileged to be invited to speak at the Third Citizen Cyberscience Summit in London. I wrote about my expectations (and the talks I was madly excited to hear) last week, and it didn’t disappoint.

With projects from all over the world in attendance sharing new and exciting insights into citizen science, it was an inspiring and eye-opening affair. The future looks rosy indeed.

My own talk drew on personal experiences of citizen science, as well as adventures and fieldwork on past expeditions. If you couldn’t make the event, then here’s a copy of the livestream that was being broadcast at the time (I start about 9.20 minutes in, but do have a listen to Francois Grey’s wonderful introduction).

Citizen Cyberscience Livestream

My Slides

Here’s a summary of the points I made, with some extras added at the end emerging from discussions afterwards.

Extra Points

I talked with a lot of very interesting people over the course of the conference, and a couple of extra points came up. Feel free to jog my memory if I’ve forgotten any more!

  • Don’t re-invent the wheel – If there’s something you’re trying to do, then look around to see who might have made some progress in that direction already. If you can work together, or improve their platform, then that’s a better use of resources for everyone.
  • Focus on the science and the rest will come – There was a lot of talk of policy aspects and debate around how/why/when and who should set up citizen science associations and other bodies. A lot of this is undoubtedly important, but it shouldn’t ever distract from the task at hand: doing science. So if it all becomes a little confusing, then focus on doing good quality citizen science, and the rest will follow (eventually).

Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments (especially if you disagree or have a better suggestion!)