Citizen science in Denmark at a critical stage: a national survey across research fields, institutions, and projects

Kristian Hvidtfelt Nielsen, Gitte Kragh, Torben Esbo Agergaard

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Abstract

Citizen science (CS) is an international field based on widely accepted-although often contested -principles, typologies, and definitions. In comparison, national and local differences get relatively little attention. Our paper offers insights into the CS field in Denmark. We report on results from our 2020 study of CS activities in Denmark. The study included a literature review, a questionnaire distributed by email to members of known CS projects and allowing for access by means of self-enrolment (N=187), and a desk study of projects and actors with relation to the concept of CS. We found an increase in the number of CS-related publications from Danish universities from 2014 onwards. Nearly all publications were research publication, and very few directed towards larger audiences. We also found that the Danish CS field included all fields of scientific inquiry, including the social sciences and humanities. Most projects (65 %) dealt with nature-biology and ecology-as an object of study. Nearly all projects used CS as a research method, and very few as a mode of public engagement or activism. Our survey respondents represented different CS stakeholders: universities, research libraries, museums, public institutions (agencies, public libraries, etc.), NGOs, companies, and private citizens. They were generally interested in and knowledgeable about CS. Collectively, they identified the following problems for CS in Denmark: volunteer retention and recruitment, institutional backing, public awareness, ethical approval of projects, acceptance of CS as a research method, and human resources for doing CS. In conclusion, CS is an emerging field at a critical stage. It has attracted interest yet still faces challenges, such as increasing and maintaining institutional support, consolidating existing organizational structures, creating incentives for researchers and citizens, information and advocacy, capacity-building, and attention to ethical and legal issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number058
JournalP o S - Proceedings of Science
Volume418
ISSN1824-8039
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022
Event2022 Engaging Citizen Science Conference, CitSci 2022 - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 25 Apr 202226 Apr 2022

Conference

Conference2022 Engaging Citizen Science Conference, CitSci 2022
Country/TerritoryDenmark
CityAarhus
Period25/04/202226/04/2022

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