What would be childrens' or animals' sciences like?

Researchers from Universities of Oulu and Helsinki suggest in their new study that to truly expand citizen science as a democratic process, children and animals need to participate.

The first publication of CitiRats project by researchers from Oulu and Helsinki takes a critical look on ecological citizen science as it presents through the publications. The starting point was that two natural scientists, two childhood studies researchers and two (critical) human-animal studies scholars asked questions “Participation on whose terms?”, and “Participation for whose benefit?”.

When children or young people participate in citizen science, the common role is to learn or create research data for professional researchers. The participation is commonly restricted to mechanical or predetermined tasks. Indeed, the voice or knowledge of children or young people is non-existent in citizen science literature. Similarly, the participation of animals in citizen science projects is passive and agency and participatory roles evade animals, whether wildlife, domestic or pets. 

Participation in the research is never innocent and thus it is imperative to ask on whose terms and why children and young people or animals are objects of citizen science. The researchers suggest that citizen science community of practice can be expanded by accepting different modes of doing science and knowing about the world.

The research has been published open access in Cultural  Studies in Science Education by title "For whom? By whom?”: critical perspectives of participation in ecological citizen science". The authors are Pauliina Rautio, Tuure Tammi, Tuomas Aivelo, Riikka Hohti, Anttoni Kervinen and Maria Helena Saari. 

Link to the publication in Cultural Studies in Science Education.