by: Caren Cooper
The inaugural conference of the Citizen Science Association (CSA) is next week, just prior to the meeting of the AAAS (American Academy for the Advancement of Science). Both conferences will be held in San Jose, California. The CSA conference reached its attendance limit quickly and had to turn people away. The line-up of presentations shows attendees from a high diversity of disciplines, countries, and perspectives coming together, making this is a milestone event for citizen science as a discipline.
In last week’s #CitSciChat, the citizen science community had a fast-paced discussion on Twitter. As moderator, I asked several questions, including “Q8. What are hoped for outcomes of the upcoming conference of the Citizen Science Association?” Here is a brief summary.
Answers covered several themes. One important theme focused on building an equitable and inclusive community. Encouraging the CSA to walk the walk reflects the desire of citizen science practitioners to have their Association embody the same values they promote in their citizen science projects. It appears that the membership of the CSA is committed, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, to ensuring that science of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.
Another theme was related to networking and Tweeters mentioned their hopes to find synergies, connect local and global projects, talk across disciplines, and form new partnerships that will advance the field of citizen science.
Another theme was innovation and action! There was a call to not only talk and share, but to catalyze and create. These are optimistic hopes because, as Michelle Neil from the Citizen Science Network Australia tweeted it, “the best science enquiry happens when you get people together.”
Some Tweeters had specific ideas about the types of directions they hope the CSA conference will spark, including bridging a perceived divide between life and environmental sciences, understanding how to measure project outcomes, and developing projects that engage people in more than data collection.
A final theme was related to having fun, making friends, and meeting people in person that they only knew via Twitter or email.
In further preparation for the Citizen Science Association’s conference next week, @johannavarner of the @CitSciAssoc Conference Communications Working Group started a hashtag #WhyICitSci. Use the hashtag and share why YOU love citizen science and what motivates you to be a part of citizen science. The #WhyICitSci campaign is a great Twitter pre-conference icebreaker to help us get to know each other before we gather in San Jose!