The Global Innovation Gathering is one of the CoAct consortium members. Within CoAct, one of our goals is to foster a critical debate, addressing what Co-Creation, what inclusive approaches, and what science should look like when accounting for multiple voices, needs, and traditions from all around the world.
At the very beginning, we came together with a group of OCSS experts from all around the world -remote and urban settings, striving and challenging contexts- and asked ourselves What do Open Science and Citizen Social Science have in common? What can we learn from each other? And why should we collaborate? Those questions triggered some crucial framing and learning requirements to shape a Citizen Social Science (CSS) approach that accounts for challenging questions we already know from the Open and Citizen Science. We hosted many hangouts, webinars, and discussions to find answers, addressing numerous facets over the last +2 years.
One of CoAct’s outputs will be a toolkit in which the different partners share their Citizen Social Science methods. We wish to contribute to this toolkit with the voices of the community – compiling a critical understandings to inclusive Citizen Social Science from a gloCal perspective. Deriving from the many conversations we had with the Open Citizen Social Science community, including many of you, we identified 5 crucial topics to bring forward in this compilation through contributions from everyone who seeks to share their approaches, best practices, failures and essential lessons learned from across the world.
Locally driven protocols and local traditions in Science
“The first way of openness is to depart from the perspective of the people we work with and not to perceive our own perspectives as expert knowledge. We need to understand, learn, and depart from local perspectives and practices, adopting together the protocol local communities will use. Those protocols will differ from those in the lab or in the walls of academia but the direction shall be to learn from them. Part of this is to embrace mythology and ritual as an integrative part of the participatory methodology. We need to take care of this contextualized knowledge wherever and with whomever we are working. This includes connecting ancient science (mythology) and contemporary science. “
Deriving questions →
- What is required in order to reframe mainstream understanding of expertise and adopt protocols of local communities as common practice?
- How can local traditions, such as rituals and mythology be embraced as a central component of CSS methodology?
The ownership of Science
“We should acknowledge the constant interaction of science and ‘livinghood’. Taking care of others, enacting rituals, making remedies. Is Citizen Social Science about bringing science back to its original ‘owners’? Do we have to admit that science is social in its essence and has always been? An example is traditional medicine, which was open source before being compromised by the industries.”
Deriving question →
- What role should/can Citizen Social Science play in bringing Science back to its ‘original owners’?
Decolonizing our educational/institutional influences
“Talking from an African scientist context, our role as social scientists has to be being the ‘pacemaker’, in order to establish good connections between our own mythology and the western knowledge learned in school and academia. The biggest challenge for African scientists, who have been trained in western institutions, is to liberate themselves from western instructions in order to be able to understand what people locally are saying and seeing. How can we approach this for western scientists trained in western institutions?”
Deriving question →
- How can western and non-western scientists liberate ourselves from western institutional ‘instructions’?
Practices to overcome false representation in participatory processes
“It is important to differentiate levels of participation, acknowledge that participation in international collaboration is often characterised by false representation since it is like a black box if people on the ground do not have access to the real knowledge of the project. We need to work towards opening this black-box in order to truly speak about participation with people from the margins.”
Deriving question →
- What is required to fully open the black-box of participation?
Examples of and learnings from ethical standard setting in OCSS communities
We need more advocacy for the ethics in Open Science (and we will need it for Citizen Social Science too) in order to foster better documentation of open science processes. We need to create protocols to account for the voices from all those communities rooted in oral traditions in this process. The end goal of a participatory process needs to be the community and what needs to be done for them to get impact as defined by them.
Deriving question →
- What is required in order to establish and follow ethical standards and enact deriving protolocals in OpenCitizen*Social Science processes?
How you can contribute:
We will welcome blogpost style contributions addressing one of the five central discussions identified. Like this, we will craft a gradually emerging compilation of your voices and methods shared on our website. A selection of contributions submitted until October 22 will be compiled for translation in the CoAct languages and integrated into the upcoming CoAct toolkit.
We warmly invite you to write a blog post format contribution related to one of these topics. From your local perspective, it can be a reflection piece elaborating on one of the topics and the guiding questions that come with it. It can also share concrete methods/tools elaborating on how you and your community address one of the five issues we raise in your factual context.
The contributions should be 1,000-1,500 words and written in a blog-style accessible to a broader audience and can be submitted in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Arabic. However, if you prefer to write in any other language, reach out to us, and we will do our best to support you. Please request the complete writing style guide from email@example.com
We will accept contributions between April 1 and October 22, 2022. All texts will go through an editing step with the potential request for minor adjustments before being uploaded to the website.