Participation in citizen science: insights from the CONECT-e case study

Petra Benyei, Manuel Pardo-de-Santayana, Laura Aceituno-Mata, Laura Calvet-Mir, María Carrascosa-García, Marta Rivera-Ferre, Antonio Perdomo-Molina, Victoria Reyes-García
Science, Technology, & Human Values

Citizen science (CS) is growing quickly, given its potential to enhance knowl-edge coproduction by diverse participants, generating large and global datasets. However, uneven participation in CS is still an important concern. This work aims to understand (1) participation dynamics in CS and (2) how they areshaped by participation barriers and drivers. We do so by examining partici-pation in CONECT-e, a CS project that uses a wiki-like platform to documenttraditional ecological knowledge. More precisely, we analyze quantitative dataon participants’ profile and activity patterns and qualitative data on barriers anddrivers of participation. Our findings suggest that overcoming the education,age, and residence participation barriers is challenging even in cocreated CSprojects. This is potentially due to issues of perceived self-illegitimacy and lowaccess to information and communication technologies. Our results also pointout that participants’ alliance with the project’s objectives and trust relation-ships  with  the  project  team  are  important  drivers of  participation  in CSprojects. Finally, we also highlight the need to think beyond participation assingle actions and rather consider participation diversity in CS as functionaldiversity in ecosystems, with participants performing a diverse set of inter-connected tasks or functions.