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Citizen Science: Theory & Practice – previewing the first issue

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By Rick Bonney, Co-Editor of Citizen Science: Theory & Practice


Launching a new journal is daunting. The myriad tasks include defining the journal’s niche, establishing an open-access infrastructure, and developing a sustainability plan. Tasks also include finding people willing to do the work required to make a journal happen: a publisher, editors, reviewers, and most of all, potential authors.

Now, one year after announcing that the Citizen Science Association planned to publish a new journal focused on the emerging field of citizen science, all those pieces have come together. The first issue—Volume 1, Number 1—of Citizen Science: Theory and Practice will be published in May, 2016.

The issue will contain four essays, four research papers, and two case studies. Topics range from methods of ensuring quality of data collected by volunteers, to techniques of project assessment, to equity, diversity, and inclusion among project participants. Two of the essays– which discuss the journal, the citizen science field, and the growth and development of citizen science associations around the world—have been written by the editors and by individuals involved in developing the associations. The other eight articles were contributed by members of this growing field. They were submitted to the journal website; reviewed by the editors; assigned to an editorial board member; reviewed by members of the association; revised in light of reviewers’ comments, sometimes multiple times; accepted for publication; copyedited; typeset; and finally, proofread by the authors and editors in preparation for publication.

The authors of this first issue have patiently waited for a year as this process has unfolded and continual decisions have been made concerning policy and style. Some examples: should citizen science be capitalized? (No.) Should in-text citations be alphabetical or chronological? (Alphabetical.) Are people who engage in citizen science “volunteers,” “participants,” or “citizen scientists?” (All of the above, depending.) We appreciate these authors’ patience and are eager to finally release their work for the field to see.

After the first issue is released, we plan to publish new articles on a continual basis. That is, articles will appear shortly after they are accepted for publication. In fact, we already have several articles in the pipeline that will be ready for publication over the next few months. Periodically, published articles will be “packaged” into volumes for ease in citation, although the exact mechanism for the ongoing publishing process is still being determined.

The Citizen Science Association is excited to be launching this journal. We are already reviewing manuscripts for subsequent issues, and the editors hope that our members will continue to send a steady stream of high-quality contributions for consideration. Submissions can be made at any time. Visit Citizen Science: Theory & Practice for information on how to submit!

Posted on: April 19, 2016  |  Category: Blog, Journal, News