Last year a who's who of citizen science experts met in Portland, Oregon to discuss the current state of the field. We've discussed many of the highlights from that meeting previously on this blog. Now it is time for one more highlight...unveiling the just launched "Citizen Science Association".
Last week the association launched their web site (www.citizenscienceassociation.org) and hosted an hour-long presentation describing the new organization. Although a small group has gotten the ball rolling for everyone, and they've started the hard work of building an infrastructure, they can't do it alone. They now need our ideas, comments and criticisms to ensure it meets all the needs that are out there.
Among other things, the new association looks to promote and advocate for the citizen science field, identify best practices, and foster professional development. As a first step in accomplishing these goals four working groups have been put together in the following areas:
- Creating a governance structure to support the new organization.
- Setting up conferences. Initially they hope for a large national conference every two years with the next in early 2015. But they are also thinking of more frequent "virtual conferences" online as well as the potential for local or regional conferences in various areas.
- Launching a peer-reviewed journal focused on citizen science as it's own discipline. Since citizen science is highly interdisciplinary the journal would not focus on research in other fields that just used citizen science as a tool...that would be more appropriate in the field the research was performed. Instead the journal would take articles on how different projects use citizen science, how it can be improved, and where citizen science is headed. This was one of the most popular ideas and provoked much discussion during the presentation.
- Developing a communications strategy. This group will not just communicate to citizen scientists and fellow researchers, but also the public. They can promote the citizen science concept and give the media a trusted source of information on citizen science issues.
What they need now is your input. I've been thinking about it myself and am composing some of my own thoughts. But what do you think? Let them know by joining the discussion at citizenscience.org/elist and by providing feedback at www.citizenscienceassociation.org. Or even in the comments below. Whichever way you choose let's keep this important conversation moving.