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Citizen science worldwide

Citizen science has been conducted in many parts of the world for some time and since the mid-2010s, citizen science initiatives have become increasingly connected on a national and international scale. 

The oldest continuously ongoing project in Austria is, to our knowledge, the phaenology project at the Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik (ZAMG) in Vienna. It is generally assumed that multiple citizen science projects are, and have been, carried out in Austria, however, under different names. In Austria, pseudonyms for citizen science projects include, among others, Bürgerwissenschaften (literally “citizen science”), Freiwilligenforschung (“volunteer research”), Volkszählungen (“population census”) or Laienwissenschaften (“laypersons’ science”).

Since 2013, the goal of the working group for citizen science at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, has been to find citizen science actors in Austria, connect them and enable dialogue between science and society. The Österreich forscht platform (www.citizen-science.at) has been online since 2014. A number of different institutes appear on this website and work together intensively to connect citizen science actors in Austria and internationally, to further advance the quality of citizen science and further develop methods. 

The Citizen Science Network Austria (CSNA) was created in summer 2017. It now acts as the provider for Österreich forscht and its Memorandum of Understanding has since been signed by many institutions.

On Österreich forscht, you can find all of the citizen science projects we are aware of in Austria, the latest information on the annual Austrian Citizen Science Conference, organised by the platform, and keep up to date with citizen science in Austria and around the world. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

In addition to the Citizen Science Network Austria, Austria also has the Center for Citizen Science, which was established in 2015 by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research with the Österreichischen Austauschdienst and serves as a place for information and services for researchers, citizens and experts from a range of specialist areas. Furthermore, the Center acts as a project carrier, e.g. for the support initiative Top Citizen Science or the Citizen Science Award. You can find more information about the centre on their website.

On an international scale, citizen science is very popular and has a long tradition in English-speaking areas. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is commonly mentioned as the oldest citizen science project.

Go to scistarter to look through English-language projects. On this platform, you will find not only a comprehensive range of projects, but also a blog from the US on news in citizen science citsci.org provides the tools to develop a project yourself and also has a long list of citizen science projects you can participate in.

Those who are looking for projects in Germany should visit the website Bürger schaffen Wissen

Switzerland also has its own platform for citizen science projects: Schweiz forscht. This platform, which is run by the Science et cité foundation, presents projects from a wide variety of fields and provides information about citizen science in Switzerland. In addition, there is also the Citizen Science Center Zurich at ETH Zürich and the University of Zürich, which handles the citizen science interests of both universities. 

Iedereen Wetenschapper is a citizen science platform from Belgium that represents and connects primarily Flemish projects and is also active in the Netherlands. 

Citizen Science Netværket is a Danish network that also shows Danish projects and connects actors. 

In addition to these initiatives, there are still many more that currently exist. If you would like to know more, you can find more information on the website for the Citizen Science Networks working group of the European Citizen Science Association, in which many of these networks are represented. 

However, it is not only projects that are organised on an international scale, but associations and networks are also formed with a goal to professionalising citizen science and strengthening national cooperation. In Europe, this is the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), in the US it is the Citizen Science Association (CSA) and Australia has the Citizen Science Network Australia (CSNA).

A worldwide initiative is also currently in development. The Citizen Science Global Partnership is trying to connect all major actors in citizen science worldwide.

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