July 2 – 5 , 2017, Dagstuhl Seminar 17272

Citizen Science: Design and Engagement


Irene Celino (CEFRIEL – Milan, IT)
Oscar Corcho (Polytechnic University of Madrid, ES)
Franz Hölker (IGB – Berlin, DE)
Elena Simperl (University of Southampton, GB)

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While the history of amateur involvement in scientific discovery originated long before the establishment of modern academic institutions, the Web and digital technologies have fundamentally re-vitalized and expanded the ways and scale in which untrained citizens can participate in scholarly research. The Citizen Science projects have thus far enlisted the help of millions of volunteers in a wide array of scientific inquiries, ranging from the taxonomic classification of galaxies and the creation of an online encyclopedia of all living species on Earth, to the derivation of solutions to protein folding problems and the tracking and measuring the population and migratory patterns of animals in the Serengeti national park. This new, more inclusive way of pursuing science is proving successful in many ways: it gives scientists around the world an effective, affordable way to collect and analyze large amounts of data in a short period of time, popularizes scientific topics to wider audiences, and encourages the formation of amateur scientific communities, which initiate their own projects and deliver notable results.

This Dagstuhl Seminar is meant as a platform to discuss and explore the aspects and to prospect the future of the citizen science research, platforms, and applications. It will feature a mixture of keynotes, lightning talks, brainstorming sessions, and demonstrations of existing systems. The topics addressed in the seminar will be organized according to the three perspectives:

  • A crowdsourcing perspective that views citizen science as a large-scale volunteer-driven human computation system. Relevant aspects include:
    • Task and workflow design
    • User experience design
    • Validating answers
    • Task assignment and contributors' performance
    • Crowd learning, feedback, and tutorials
    • Gamification and rewards
  • An online community perspective that considers social and other communication and interaction activities that support task-centered efforts. This is related to quantitative and qualitative approaches for content and community analysis, including:
    • Analysis of discussion forums and chat activity
    • Social network analysis
    • Interplay with other community spaces such as social media
    • Analysis of community trajectories
    • Lurker behavior and more general contribution patterns
    • Conflicts and collaboration
    • Surveys of motivation and incentives
  • An open science perspective that focuses on citizen science as an emerging model of collaborative research. In particular:
    • Open, participatory approaches to all stages of the scientific lifecycle
    • Crowdfunding for science
    • Open access publication of research ideas and outcomes
    • Openness in data acquisition and sharing
    • Participation of young citizens in citizen science activities
    • Scientific publishing for crowdsourced science

The seminar organizers have the ambition of making this Dagstuhl Seminar a most influential workshop in the area of Citizen Science. The goal of the seminar is to shape the evolution and further development of this emerging community by devising a research roadmap that will outline the future of the field; and publish a special issue in a high-quality journal, or an edited book summarizing the most important lines of research, and the results of our interactions during the event.

  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Irene Celino, Oscar Corcho, Franz Hölker, and Elena Simperl


  • Artificial Intelligence / Robotics
  • Society / Human-computer Interaction


  • Citizen science
  • Online community
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Open sciencee
  • Human computation
  • Incentives engineering
  • Data analytics
  • Gamification

Book exhibition

Books from the participants of the current Seminar 

Book exhibition in the library, ground floor, during the seminar week.


In the series Dagstuhl Reports each Dagstuhl Seminar and Dagstuhl Perspectives Workshop is documented. The seminar organizers, in cooperation with the collector, prepare a report that includes contributions from the participants' talks together with a summary of the seminar.


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Furthermore, a comprehensive peer-reviewed collection of research papers can be published in the series Dagstuhl Follow-Ups.

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