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Indigenous knowledge and Citizen Science: enabling paths for Climate Justice

By Kirsty, on 27 October 2022

Post by Harry Ortiz, Office for Open Science & Scholarship Support Officer

This year’s Open Access theme, Climate Justice, allows us to explore how research openness can promote diverse paths to achieve it. In this particular occasion, we will focus on how citizen science can work as a bridge to connect the so-called modern societies with rich indigenous environmental knowledge to confront the climate emergency and learn from their day-to-day practices.

According to the United Nations (UN), climate justice refers to a paradigm shift that focuses on the impacts of global warming on the most vulnerable people rather than just discussions on gas emissions. Expanding the discourses based on natural resources and biodiversity depletion to more ethical and political spheres under the human rights framework and civil movements from those communities who are, and will be, the most affected by those changes (Unite Nations, 2019).

CC-BY-NC Picture by Joe Brusky https://flic.kr/p/pkVrKZ

Paradoxically, indigenous communities, who have been the protectors of the land through sacred ties with nature, are one of the most affected groups confronting climate change hazards. Receiving special attention due to their leader’s climate justice activism based on their traditional knowledge, demanding urgent policy transformations and more comprehensive mitigation plans (United Nations, 2021). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognise the crucial role of indigenous peoples’ knowledge in those plans, especially regarding ecosystem and biodiversity conservation as key to ensuring sustainable development and climate resilience (IPCC, 2022).

As climate justice movements note, the effects of the planetary phenomena affect vulnerable communities worst and faster. Not only about social and economic extents but their ‘abilities to produce, disseminate, and use knowledge around the climate crisis’ (International Science Council, 2022). This a critical reality for indigenous and local knowledge reproduction, which might contain the answers to new forms of human existence in symbiosis with all forms of life on earth.

Openness can help to share that traditional knowledge and inform novel paths to generate resilient modern societies. However, it is first necessary to understand and capture the indigenous and local expertise, where citizen science practice, one of the eight pillars of open science, takes enormous relevance for climate justice.

But how can scientific methodologies and indigenous/local knowledge coexist when they belong to completely different epistemologies? How do we avoid new ways of colonisation against indigenous peoples in the name of science and climate justice?

Citizen science offers a solution, a link between the two distant worlds. With ethical considerations carefully implemented, it can deliver new knowledge collaborations and approaches to solve local and global sustainability issues. Citizen science aloud reciprocally valuable knowledge systems to coexist, open discussions about power dynamics in the academic world, promote diversity, participation in decision making and address historical inequalities (Tengö, M. et al. 2021).

The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IGWIA), answering the IPCC 2022 report on mitigation, indicate the need for ‘a new paradigm of climate partnership with Indigenous Peoples that harnesses the benefits of different knowledge systems and ways of knowing is needed. Although the inclusion of Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge holders in research is increasing, more significant efforts are needed to support community-based and Indigenous-led research.’ (IGWIA, 2022). Addressing the need to respect indigenous peoples’ rights in the knowledge co-production development and their participation in all levels of climate mitigation decisions in ethical and equitable processes.

The UCL press book’ Geographic Citizen Science Design – No one left behind’ shows good examples of citizen science with indigenous communities who take into account cultural factors, participant-centre design and the local contexts from holistic perspectives. We encourage you to visit their third chapter, where the authors build from an anthropological and human-computer design perspective providing several case studies regarding geographic citizen science with indigenous communities and their knowledge. You can download the Open Access PDF for free!

Despite diverse opinions and perspectives, citizen science practices can hybridise two knowledge traditions that seemed to run in parallel paths. Sharing those findings in open and accessible ways beyond academia can promote more fair, equitable and sustainable societies.

Can you imagine new ways to co-existence with all the living world informed by indigenous knowledge and practices? Following Tyson Yunkaporta’s ideas in his book Sand Talk, what if indigenous knowledge can save the world? For some, the idea might sound romantic or taken out of science fiction movies. But what if finding an encounter point between the modern and the indigenous world is the most effective path towards climate justice?


International Science Council, 2022. 2022 International Open Access Week will focus on ‘Open for Climate Justice’. [online] Available from: https://council.science/current/news/2022-international-open-access-week-will-focus-on-open-for-climate-justice/ [Accessed 06 October 2022]

IGWIA, 2022. A new paradigm of climate partnership with Indigenous Peoples. An analysis of the recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the IPCC report on mitigation. IGWIA Briefing Paper. Available from: https://iwgia.org/en/resources/publications/4845-iwgia-briefing-analysing-a-new-paradigm-of-climate-partnership-with-indigenous-peoples-ipcc-report.html

IPCC, 2022. Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Working Group III Contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Summary for Policymakers. WMO – UNEP. Available from: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGIII_SPM.pdf

Tengö, M., Austin, B.J., Danielsen, F., Fernández-Llamazares, A. 2021. Creating Synergies between Citizen Science and Indigenous and Local Knowledge. BioScience, 2021; biab023, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biab023

United Nations, 31 May 2019. Climate Justice. Goal 13: Climate Action. [online] Available from: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/climate-justice/ [Accessed 04 October 2022]

United Nations, 09 August 2021. How indigenous knowledge can help prevent environmental crises. Environmental Rights and Governance. [online] Available from: https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/story/how-indigenous-knowledge-can-help-prevent-environmental-crises [Accessed 04 October 2022]

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter – Issue 6

By Kirsty, on 8 June 2022

Welcome to the sixth issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter!

This termly newsletter has updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, and contributions from colleagues across the university. If you would like to get involved, give feedback or write something for a future issue, please get in touch using the details at the end of the newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Editorial
  • Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
  • Community voice – Extreme Citizen Science: Analysis and
    Visualisation (ECSAnVis) project
  • Special Feature – UCL Press Open Access eTextbooks project
  • Deep Dive – Highlights from the Blog
  • News and Events

Go to the newsletter on Sway, or view it below. If you use the version below, we recommend clicking the ‘full screen’ button to get the full experience!

When viewing a Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view. This view displays a high-contrast style for easier reading, disables any animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers.

To turn on Accessibility view:

  • If you’re using a mouse or touchscreen, on the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar), choose Accessibility view.
  • If you’re using a screen reader, on the More options menu, when Accessibility view is selected, you hear “Displays this Sway in a high contrast design with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to all content.”

How does Citizen Science Change us? Write up from the UCL Open Science Conference 2022

By Kirsty, on 26 May 2022

Guest post by Israel Amoah-Norman (IGP Research Intern)

The UCL Open Science Conference took place last month. Thanks to Covid, most of the sessions were online. However, on 6th April, the UCL Office for Open Science and Scholarship invited the Institute for Global Prosperity (IGP) to host a hybrid discussion themed ‘How Does Citizen Science Change Us?’. The IGP bases its activities around citizen-led research. For example, it launched its first study in September 2021: where citizen scientists trained by the IGP in qualitative data collection explored the effects of regeneration on household prosperity. The session on 6th April invited members of the research team to discuss how the experience had impacted them. It also invited academic researchers outside of the IGP to present their research and discuss how citizen science (CS) had impacted them and the local communities where their studies had taken place.

A quick side note: open science is focused on inclusive approaches to producing and evaluating research i.e., it opens research beyond the realms of academia to the wider community.

Now, back to the event. The conference was split into three parts:

Dr Rita Campos began proceedings with a thought-provoking opening statement about the benefits of CS. She stated that CS provides an innovative and methodological framework for projects – a move from a top-down approach to a bottom-up approach, and helps to create opportunities for scientists and researchers to learn together.

Following her opening remarks, citizen scientists and academic researchers discussed their research projects. In total, we had the pleasure of listening to 7 presentations. It was clear that from a societal angle, CS allows the examination of issues that really matter in local communities. It also builds stronger connections between members of communities who might not have otherwise spoken to each other. In terms of the individual impacts of CS, one of the presenters who was researching air quality in a community in Liverpool realised that a data-only approach would not help mobilise communities to make a difference. A former citizen scientist trained by the IGP who is now a local council candidate expressed how CS had built her confidence in public speaking.The final part of the conference invited Pye Nyunt (left) (Former Head of Insight & Innovation at the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham) and Dominic Murphy (right) (Principal Participation Officer from the London Borough of Camden) to discuss how CS work had impacted them and policy processes in their boroughs.

Dominic discussed his involvement in the Good Life Euston program and explained how the initiative made him realise that there is a route in understanding the issues of planning and regeneration based upon the experiences of Camden citizens. He also made a comedic analogy to citizens being like the councils’ nervous system (I enjoyed that). CS work also gave him the desire to replace public consultants with citizen scientists to survey local people about their experiences in Camden.

Pye explained that CS had taught him the importance of qualitative research. Realising that in his council, a qualitative data team was non-existent, he hired service designers to fix this.  He also noted that CS initiatives such as the Community Food Club created in his borough not only help local people but indirectly relieves the financial burden on the council.

The final segment opened the floor to members of the audience – other citizen scientists and researchers asked important questions about CS. Methods for assuring that CS is inclusive, whether CS training should be standardised, and the benefits and potential drawbacks of CS were topics of discussion.

Apart from the technical difficulties of the hybrid event, it went incredibly well. I had never heard of citizen science until January of this year. I always thought of scientific research as an area which could not be accessed by local people. This event made me realise how important it is for citizens to be included in research.

Catch up on the session in full below, or on UCL MediaCentral.

Bookings now open for UCL Open Science Conference 2022

By Kirsty, on 15 March 2022

We are very pleased to finally be able to announce that bookings are officially open for the UCL Open Science conference 2022!

The conference is taking place online across two days, and as a special trial run this year we have selected one session to be run as a hybrid event, which will be available online and in person on the UCL campus. If you want to attend the conference online, and the Citizen Science session in person you will need a ticket for both.

Tickets are free and open to everyone that is interested. Sessions will be recorded and the recordings will be shared on the blog and via social media after the event.

Download the programme

DAY 1 – 6th April –

Morning Session: 10.00 -12.30 ONLINE

What does Open Science mean to me?

Here at UCL, the phrase ‘Open Science’ routinely refers to the steps taken to open up the research process to the benefit of the wider research community and beyond. Consequently, members of the UCL community are being actively encouraged to embrace open science practices – and the cultural changes that inevitably follow. Plus, we are subsequently well placed to explore related potential opportunities including greater transparency of the research process, maximising research potential of existing resources and embedding a greater sense of trustworthiness and accountability to your research.

However, it seems the deeper we delve into the concept of Open Science, the more we seek to contextualise this phrase and question what it means to an individual’s working practices.

Kickstart your research with Open Data and Code

This session will look at some of the approaches you can take to go beyond simply sharing your data and code and instead making it Open and FAIR – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. Assuming little prior knowledge, we will hear from researchers and research technology professionals about how they approach making research software open source, techniques for openness when dealing with computational research, the role that can be played by Electronic Lab Notebooks, and data repositories in the Open Science ecosystem

Afternoon Session: 1.30-3.30pm ONLINE & IN PERSON:

How does Citizen Science change us?

Recent research about the impact of citizen science projects tends to focus on how public ‘participation’ in scientific research enhances knowledge outcomes for projects, or enhances the scientific literacy of participating citizen scientists. The benefits to participating individuals and communities are often assumed, and very little literature examines the personal dilemmas and challenges that individuals negotiate, or how citizen science projects change the behaviour of policymakers.

We aim to explore these gaps by inviting different perspectives on the question “How does citizen science change us?” Discussions will examine how participation in citizen science projects impacts on the different individuals involved – the citizen scientists, academic researchers, community members, policymakers – and ask how impacts on individuals can translate into wider political, societal and organisational transformations

This session will be online using the same link as the main conference. If you want to join this session in person, please also register on Eventbrite.

DAY 2 – 7th April – ONLINE 10.00 -12.30

10.10-11.20 UKRI Town Hall

The new UKRI Open Access policy has dominated discussions of the future of Open Access in the last year. This session proposes to allow the audience free rein to openly discuss the new policy with key members of the team at UKRI. After a brief presentation of the policy and guidance as it stands, the audience will be invited to pose their questions in an open forum.

11.20-12.30 Open Science and the Global South

Open Access publishing has been broadly embraced as a solution to the issue of paywalls which are often barriers to accessing research articles and, therefore, barriers to research itself. Open Access publishing removes the cost for those that may wish to read an article, but the publication process must still be paid for. Finding sustainable ways of doing this is a challenge, especially for institutions based in the global south where budgets may be more limited.

 

Office for Open Science & Scholarship Newsletter – Issue 5

By Kirsty, on 3 March 2022

Welcome to the fifth issue of the Open Science and Scholarship Newsletter!

This termly newsletter has updates across the 8 Pillars of Open Science, and contributions from colleagues across the university. If you would like to get involved, give feedback or write something for a future issue, please get in touch using the details at the end of the newsletter.

In this issue:

  • Editorial
  • Update from the Head of the Office for Open Science & Scholarship
  • Community voice – Creating a digital organism through Open Science
  • Special Feature – UCL Press announce the launch of a new translation initiative
  • Deep Dive – Highlights from the Blog
  • News and Events

Go to the newsletter on Sway, or view it below. If you use the version below, we recommend clicking the ‘full screen’ button to get the full experience!

When viewing a Sway, you can turn on Accessibility view. This view displays a high-contrast style for easier reading, disables any animations, and supports keyboard navigation for use with screen readers.

To turn on Accessibility view:

  • If you’re using a mouse or touchscreen, on the More options menu (shown as three dots on the Sway toolbar), choose Accessibility view.
  • If you’re using a screen reader, on the More options menu, when Accessibility view is selected, you hear “Displays this Sway in a high contrast design with full keyboard functionality and screen reader access to all content.”

Call for Contributions: How does citizen science change us?

By Kirsty, on 25 February 2022

Exploring the impacts on ‘citizens’, ‘researchers’, ‘policymakers’, and social action at the UCL Open Science Conference

6 April – Cruciform Building LT2, UCL Campus and Online

Citizen Science is the involvement of non-professionals in the creation of knowledge. It can be a powerful tool for amplifying researchers’ capacity to collect large amounts of data by involving thousands of people in research activities, for engaging non-professionals in research on major societal issues such as climate change, and for empowering communities to generate knowledge about their environments.

Whilst Citizen Science is a promising step forward for open science, it is not fully understood how Citizen Science has an impact on the policies and practices which shape the world we live in.

This event will focus on exploring the question of ‘impact’ from different perspectives. Recent research about the impact of citizen science projects tends to focus on how public ‘participation’ in scientific research enhances knowledge outcomes for projects, or enhances the scientific literacy of participating citizen scientists. The benefits to participating individuals and communities are often assumed, and very little literature examines the personal dilemmas and challenges that individuals negotiate, or how citizen science projects change the behaviour of policymakers.

We aim to explore these gaps by inviting different perspectives on the question “How does citizen science change us?” Discussions will examine how participation in citizen science projects impacts on the different individuals involved – the citizen scientists, academic researchers, community members, policymakers – and ask how impacts on individuals can translate into wider political, societal and organisational transformations.

The event is divided into an exhibition, a presentation session and a discussion session. These bring together citizen scientists, academic and applied researchers, policymakers and voluntary sector organisations/networks interested in the impacts of citizen science. Each are represented as speakers, moderators and attendees. Please see below for session breakdowns.

We invite UCL Citizen Science projects to participate in the exhibition and the presentations, and to put out a call through networks and partners to invite contributions from other projects. We welcome project representatives from inside and outside academia to participate.

Exhibition

We invite submissions for an online exhibition of photographs and visualisations which illustrate the impact of Citizen Science. Each submission should be accompanied by a short (250 word) text explaining the project and its impact, and any relevant links to project websites or other resources.

Impacts can be related to impacts on the individual (including Citizen Scientists, policy-makers, researchers etc.), the institution, and wider society.

These will be compiled into an online exhibition and resource bank about Citizen Science projects and their impacts. The exhibition website will include a comments box, so that virtual attendees can respond to the exhibition and to projects with their own visualisations and accompanying text, thereby building on the resource bank.

Presentations

We invite presenters to speak about the impacts of a Citizen Science project on any or all of the following: the individual (including Citizen Scientists, policy-makers, researchers etc.), the institution, wider society. Presenters are asked to describe:

  1. What the project was
  2. What the impact was
  3. How the impact was achieved/happened

Each presentation will last for 7 minutes. The session will end with a 25-minute Q&A with attendees. Slides with photographs or simple images are welcome!

To apply

To contribute to the exhibition, please email your photograph/visual in jpeg format, and your accompanying text as a Word document.

To present, please email with your name, role in the project, a 250-word statement about your project and the impact you will discuss.

Please email hannah.sender@ucl.ac.uk with your submissions by 14 March.

Save the Date: UCL Open Science Conference 2022

By Kirsty, on 23 February 2022

We are pleased to announce that the UCL Open Science conference 2022 will be taking place on the 6th and 7th April 2022. As last year the doors will be open to all and we ae looking forward to seeing you!

The programme design is in its final stages but across the two days we will be presenting a combination of online and in person sessions across a variety of themes:

Wednesday 6th April

Morning session (10am – 12.30pm): Online

  • What does Open Science mean to me? – Panel discussion
  • Kickstart your research with technology and Open Software – Series of talks to introduce technical tools for everyone!

Afternoon session (1.30 – 4pm): In Person – UCL campus

  • How does Citizen Science change us?

Thursday 7th April

Morning session (10am – 12.30pm): Online

  • UKRI Town Hall – Discussion hosted by David Price (UCL VP Research) and featuring Sir Duncan Wingham and Rachel Bruce
  • Open in the Global South – Series of talks on the theme, featuring Sally Rumsey and Ernesto Priego

Registration will be opening soon, but please save the date and watch this space!

Open Science monthly schedule outline – Academic year 21/22

By Kirsty, on 23 November 2021

New for the academic year 2021-22 the Office for Open Science and Scholarship is organising a monthly series of talks, showcases and training sessions across as many of the eight pillars as we can fit in for UCL colleagues and students at all levels.

All of the teams will be teaching their usual classes, keep watching your usual sources of training plus here and on Twitter for those, but these introductory sessions are intended to give a general overview of each subject area for a general audience with plenty of opportunities for discussion and questions. These introductory sessions will also be supplemented with ad hoc events throughout the year.

  • November
    Departmental UKRI Briefings – contact catherine.sharp@ucl.ac.uk to arrange a briefing for your team
  • December
    Introduction to the Office for Open Science & Scholarship – December 15th 2-3pm – Postponed, please express interest below
  • January 22
    Introduction to responsible metrics – January 27th 2-3pm – Online
  • February
    Introduction to Research Data Management – February 2nd 10-11am – Online
  • March
    Getting started with the RDR – Friday 4th Mar 10-11am – Online
  • April
    Open Science Conference (Dates TBC)
  • May
    Citizen Science project showcase (Details & Dates TBC)
  • June
    Citizen Science, Public Engagement & Research Impact (Dates TBC)
  • July
    ORCiD, DOI and beyond – Introduction to Persistent identifiers (Dates TBC)

If you are interested in any of the sessions above then please complete the MS form and the organisers will get back to you with calendar details and joining instructions for planned sessions. Any sessions without firm dates, we will contact you as soon as details are confirmed.

UCL Open Science Conference 2021 – Programme now available

By Kirsty, on 26 March 2021

Thank you once more to everyone that submitted their ideas to the Call for Papers – we had so many and are so grateful that we have been able to create a packed programme.

All of the information about our Keynotes was revealed back in January, but we can now reveal the full programme and our 4 panels!

Day 1: Monday 26th April

Time Title
13:00 – 13:10 Welcome, housekeeping
13:10 – 13:40 Open Science – looking to the future
Jean-Claude Burgelman
13:40 – 13:55 Open Science at UCL – looking to our future
Paul Ayris
13:55 – 14:10 Q&A Discussion
  Break
14:20 – 15:00 Future of Open Science panel
15:00 – 15:15 Panel Q&A
  Break
15:25 – 16:05 Technical solutions panel
16:05 – 16:20 Panel Q&A
16:20 – 16:30 Summary and close

Day 2: Tuesday 27th April

Time Title
13:00 – 13:10 Welcome, housekeeping
13:10 – 13:30 Count-erproductive? The role of metrics in the advancement of Open Science
Lizzie Gadd
13:30 – 13:40 Q&A
13:40 – 14:00 Toolkit for Transparency, Reproducibility & Quality in Energy Research
Gesche Huebner & Mike Fell
14:00 – 14:10 Q&A
  Break
14:20 – 15:00 Reproducibility, Transparency & Metrics panel
15:00 – 15:15 Panel Q&A
  Break
15:25 – 16:05 Citizen science panel
16:05 – 16:20 Panel Q&A
16:20 – 16:30 Summary and close

Download the Draft Programme and details of all of our panellists (pdf)

Get your tickets now!

Embracing citizen science to answer: how can technologies help us age more easily?

By Kirsty, on 27 January 2021

Guest post by Alice Hardy, Institute of Healthcare Engineering


At the Institute of Healthcare Engineering, we wanted to create technological solutions that meet real people’s needs – but reaching our target users can sometimes be a bit tricky. We’re taking a ‘citizen science’ approach to engage with the users who need new health technology the most, and bring their ideas to life.

The ageing challenge

As a population we are living longer lives than ever before, with half the babies born in the UK today expected to reach their 100th birthday.

Longer life spans are cause for celebration, but growing older comes with downsides. Too often, people ageing are faced with problems like loneliness, loss of independence and avoidable years of disease.

Tackling these challenges is a strategic priority for the UK Government and funding bodies.

Across all faculties of UCL, researchers are developing technologies to help people live their extra years healthier and happier. However, to make these solutions as effective as possible, we need to engage with our end-users from the start. That’s where out citizen science approach comes in.

Crowdsourcing innovation

At the UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering, we act as cross-faculty hub for anyone in healthcare engineering or digital health at UCL. Our is to nurture the ideas and partnerships that result in life-changing health technology.

We understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration when developing new technologies, and a key part of that is garnering fresh perspectives from groups that can be difficult for us to reach. We want to deconstruct the idea of what is means to be an ‘expert’ and open this up to everyone – we’re all experts in growing older!

That’s why we launched the Age Innovation Hub; an online platform where we ask the public how technology could help them. Their feedback will then go onto shape real-world projects at UCL, with citizen science integrated at every step of the way.

Using this crowdsourcing tool was a way for us to directly reach out to the public and involve them in the research going on at UCL. Not only is their insight important to improve the research, but a more open relationship with the public also helps to combat perceptions that universities can be slow-moving and out of touch with the public’s needs. This crowdsourcing tool also has great potential for use in other campaigns and across UCL.

How it works

To shape the discussion, we created ‘challenge areas’ based on the biggest challenges facing older people:

  • Supporting people with health concerns
  • Creating healthy environments
  • Building social communities
  • Staying independent at home for longer
  • Staying active

In these discussion areas, users are encouraged to post their ideas, share their feedback, and vote for ideas they support. Our team of moderators keep the conversation flowing with encouraging words and probing questions; we want to cultivate an inclusive, welcoming community where anyone in the UK can share their thoughts on healthy ageing, and feels heard.

Opportunities for UCL researchers

In addition to allowing the public to share their thoughts, the Age Innovation Hub is an opportunity for UCL researchers to gain valuable feedback on their current research challenges. The Hub is open for you to get involved, so visit it now and join the conversation.

There are a number of ways for researchers to participate:

  • Submit challenges or questions from your own research areas that you’d like feedback on directly into one of the challenges
  • Write a blog to tell visitors more about existing research going on at UCL in healthy ageing or your experiences with citizen science
  • Engage in discussion on some of the ideas already posted, add your own comments and thoughts
  • Join a panel of experts that will help evaluate the needs and ideas submitted from the public (March/April 2021)

You can join the discussion now at ageinnovationhub.crowdicity.com

To find out more, you can contact the Institute of Healthcare Engineering team via ageinnovation@ucl.ac.uk