Inside, not outside

Citizen science projects grow in number and in relevance everyday. As research funding and credibility risk to be undermined by the current crisis, professional scientists should be happy about this new trend: lots of people ask them to collaborate to specific science problems and help them in a way or another. Unfortunately, scientists do not pay much attention at their voluntary colleagues. According to a recent survey,

when scientists were asked about volunteers‟ motivations, most did not recognize volunteers‟ prevalent motivations. They mentioned motivations stemming from “wanting to be outside”, “wanting to do something meaningful”, and “working with their friends or family [on scientific projects]”

This is not a good starting point for a successful citizen-scientist collaboration: citizens involve themselves into scientific projects because they primarily want to be “inside”, not “outside”. If experts refuse to recognize motivations and roles of citizens, their relationship remains a hierarchical one. Nothing more than science as usual.

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