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This is the abstract of a talk given at the Dagstuhl Seminar 17272 - Citizen Science: Design and Engagement. Citizen science has received increasing attention because of its potential as a cost-effective method of gathering massive data sets and as a way of bridging the intellectual divide between layperson and scientists. Citizen science is not a new phenomenon, but is implemented in new ways in the digital age, offering opportunities to shape new interactions between volunteers, scientists and other stakeholders, including policymakers. Arguably, citizen science rests on two main pillars: openness and participation. However, openness can remain unexploited if we do not create the technical and social conditions for broader participation in more collaborative citizen science projects, beyond collecting and sharing data to scientists. “Public participation” has too often accounted for the assumed ease with which hierarchies in science can be horizontalized, and economic and geographic barriers can be removed. However, public participation is a contested term that should be problematized. The Scandinavian tradition of participatory design can help explore conceptually the challenges related to participation and to design for participation.
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