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International Recovery Platform

Community citizen science: From promise to action

Citizen science is the use of scientific methods by the general public to ask and answer questions and solve problems. In community citizen science, groups of volunteers exert a high degree of control over research, working with professional scientists during the research process and performing research on their own. This important, yet understudied, model often focuses on addressing community concerns. A better characterization of community citizen science could yield insights into important barriers and opportunities for translating its research into action. In this report, the authors characterize the nature of community citizen science and its potential uses, identify implementation needs and challenges, conceptualize pathways through which community citizen science could achieve policy and community impacts, and elucidate challenges that might impede people from achieving their goals. Part of their research included interviewing representatives of three community citizen science projects carried out for disaster response and recovery: SkyTruth pollution tracking applications; Planetary Response Network activations for disaster response; and the Blue Water Task Force and Hurricane Maria"related activities of the Rincón, Puerto Rico, chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. The authors used findings from the disaster response and recovery case studies to identify specific considerations for community citizen science implementation and impacts. Interviews with general citizen science experts provided a greater understanding of how the cultures and institutions that make up the larger field of citizen science could shape and react to the development of community citizen science.

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