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Blog post 1: 10 June 2020

The 30-month CSI-COP research and innovation project began in earnest in January 2020, month 01. The once-in-a-hundred years’ Covid-19 pandemic affected the international CSI-COP partners in the early stages of the project’s research-phase. At the start of month 03, home working became widely established and, for some partners, this included confronting the challenges of working at home along with home-schooling young children and home-care. The research phase will conclude in September 2020, month M09. The consortium have completed the first deliverable: a report exploring the general ‘best practices’ in citizen science engagement. This is uploaded and accessible from the Project Results page of CSI-COP website.

At the end of May 2020, against the backdrop of the highly impactful Covid pandemic, a significant historical movement emerged with  protests and demonstrations mounted in cities around the world calling out the injustices meted out to our black brothers and sisters in the US, especially since the death of George Floyd. The Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter entreaties have impacted the CSI-COP consortium and provided an impetus to emphasise inclusiveness in citizen science, as several in the field have done and as is addressed in the 2018 NAS report “Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design”.  This also highlights the importance of collecting demographic information in citizen science activities.

The concerns, considerations, and principles highlighted by scholarship and recent events would urge researchers in the field of citizen science to design and facilitate activities in ways that seek to ensure broad engagement from the EU population. For many reasons, representativeness in participation is particularly important, which also means that project organisers need to make a point of reaching out to include “marginalised groups”, as well as ensuring the most extensive possible access to the project. Wide access is critical to CSI-COP’s success in achieving the goal of empowerment of laypersons to be discerning regarding data protection rights and interests, as well as supporting AI ethics advocates, campaigners for human rights in the digital age, and general science enthusiasts. The intended outcomes will include the opportunity to benefit from CSI-COP’s free informal education in general data protection regulation (GDPR) .

To achieve CSI-COP’s aim to engage as many different communities, CSI-COP researchers will reach-out, welcome and motivate for collaborative investigation of cookies in websites and apps. The research phase will conclude with the production of a framework for inclusive citizen science participation in September 2020, M09. The next, innovation phase will progress to teaching, cooperating with, and inspiring our CSI-COP amateur scientists to achieve their best in any sphere in the future.

We wish all our visitors health-safety in this precarious but momentous time.

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Posted by Huma Shah

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