Public Release: 

Commons Lab releases 2 new reports on key aspects of Citizen Science

Reports focus on successful projects in Europe and US intellectual property issues

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars/Science and Technology Innovation Program

Washington -- Citizen Science is a rapidly growing set of techniques that harness the power of volunteers to assist and support a wide range of scientific research. But for citizen science to continue to grow - and be used in policymaking - practitioners need to consider key ethical, legal and social implications of these projects.

The Commons Lab at the Wilson Center is releasing two new reports today that address different challenges facing citizen science, one examining the policy implications of a range of successful citizen science projects in Europe and the other exploring potential legal issues surrounding intellectual property (IP).

The first report, Citizen Science and Policy: A European Perspective, written by Dr. Muki Haklay of University College London, examines European citizen science projects to understand how they support or influence public policy (and how policy can support or constrain citizen science). The report includes suggestions for how projects can be better structured to support decision making and meet policy goals--for example, through strategic partnerships and by developing guidelines to facilitate the use of citizen science data. The report can be downloaded here: http://wilsoncenter.org/publication/citizen-science-and-policy-european-perspective

The second report, Typology of Citizen Science Projects from an Intellectual Property Perspective: Invention and Authorship between Researchers and Participants, written by Dr. Teresa Scassa and doctoral candidate Haewon Chung of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, analyzes various types of citizen science activities to determine whether they raise legal questions about IP ownership. The report includes a typology comparing the IP implications of different types of citizen science projects, from transcribing or gathering data to assisting with problem solving. The report can be downloaded here: http://wilsoncenter.org/publication/typology-citizen-science-projects-and-intellectual-property-perspective

In addition to the citizen science and crowdsourcing communities, these reports may also be of use to government agencies looking to launch their own projects using these novel techniques. Hardcopies of the reports will be available at the inaugural conference of the Citizen Science Association, which begins Feb. 11, 2015 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, CA.

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About the Commons Lab

The Commons Lab advances research and non-partisan policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science based and citizen-driven decision-making. New tools like social media and crowdsourcing methods are empowering average people to monitor their environment, collectively generate actionable scientific data, and support disaster response. For more information, visit: http://wilsoncommonslab.org/

About The Wilson Center

The Wilson Center provides a strictly nonpartisan space for the worlds of policymaking and scholarship to interact. By conducting relevant and timely research and promoting dialogue from all perspectives, it works to address the critical current and emerging challenges confronting the United States and the world. For more information, visit: http://www.wilsoncenter.org

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