Why is it relevant?

Citizen Observatories are typically intended to run long-term, but often they are initially set up for a relatively short time frame without secure follow-up funding. Joining forces with other Citizen Observatories can help address this sustainability challenge.

How can this be done?

Right from the start, let others know what you are working on and find other Citizen Observatories to collaborate with. Find out how to do this in the sections below. Put your own initiative on the WeObserve Citizen Observatory Landscape Map and engage with other Citizen Observatory practitioners via Communities of Practice (CoP) and other working groups. This will help you forge relationships across Citizen Observatories to learn from each other, develop strategies together, and create networks to collaborate on future funding calls to be able to continue your successful activities.

Increase your visibility as a project and allow others to get in touch with you by adding yourself to the Citizen Observatory Landscape Map. You can also use the map to find other interesting projects that may be relevant for you to connect with.

CO Landscape Map

Screenshot of Citizen Observatory Landscape Map on www.weobserve.eu

So far, four WeObserve CoPs have been established:

  • The Impact CoP inventories methods for capturing the impacts of Citizen Observatories on governance, captures Citizen Observatory impact stories, and provides guidance on Citizen Observatory impact assessment for the Impact CoP members and beyond.
  • The Co-design and Engage CoP facilitates knowledge sharing on co-designing Citizen Observatories and engages stakeholders to learn about common successes and challenges across projects.
  • The Interoperability CoPadopts data quality, curation and preservation of Citizen Observatory data, addresses privacy and licensing issues, and conducts interoperability experiments within the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). The first IE experiment report has informed data architectures of the Earth Challenge 2020.
  • The SDG CoPconnects citizen science practitioners and researchers, National Statistics Offices (NSOs), UN and international agencies and data/stats communities to exchange knowledge and resources to demonstrate the value of citizen science data and impact for SDG monitoring. The SDG CoP has comprehensively mapped citizen science projects against the SDG indicator framework. Results from the study have been taken up at high-level organisations, such as the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum.

While the Horizon 2020 funding of WeObserve ends in March 2021, the CoPs will continue as long as they provide value for the groups and chairing can be secured via other projects or new funding being generated. You can sign up to the CoPs here.

Several regional and transnational citizen science associations exist that run specific working groups, such as the Citizen Science Association in North America (CSA), the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), or the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA). The GEO Citizen Science Community Activity works to elevate the value of citizen science communities and data from local to global scales. The Citizen Science Global Partnership (CSGP) is a global effort to bring together the citizen science community at large and provide concerted actions towards global policy and other important domains.

Lessons learned from the WeObserve project

WeObserve has launched and run four highly successful CoPs and learned a great deal on the barriers and opportunities of such knowledge exchange and networking activities. In this video, CoP chairs Uta Wehn (IHE Delft), Joan Maso (CREAF) and Dilek Fraisl (IIASA) provide their insights and lessons learned, recorded during the ECSA conference in Sept 2020.

Useful Resources

TOOL: The WeObserve Landscape Map of Citizen Observatories presents a visualisation of Citizen Observatories (and related organisations) across Europe.

COMMUNITIES: The WeObserve CoPs are made up of practitioners, citizen observers, policy makers, scientists and researchers, among others, and aim to consolidate practice-based knowledge of Citizen Observatories, share information and resources, and further develop best practice guidelines and toolkits for Citizen Observatories.

PROJECT REPORT: D2.8 Final WeObserve CoP report.

WORKING GROUPS AND CoPs: There are many other communities dedicated to those interested in Citizen Observatories and citizen science:

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This work by parties of the WeObserve consortium is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.