Alliance for Responsible Science
The prominent starting signal for the Alliance for Responsible Science was given during a festive event on June 17th, 2015. With the signing of a memorandum all members agree to pursue a number of objectives which reflect the integration of the Responsible Science concept in their scientific work and their institutional development. The partner institutions from science, society and practice enter a communication and development process together, which is to push the further development of Responsible Science. An overview of the current members is available here.
Biohacking is a certain type of Do-it-yourself-science and has nothing to do with hacking computers. Biohackers are people with a strong interest in biology and biological processes who carry out experiments and do research based on scientific methods but not within the framework of traditional scientific institutions, universities and companies. Biohackers build their own laboratories at home or at so-called hackerspaces. They are interested in understanding their surrounding environment better and to find new perspectives on scientific issues. Many biohackers are connected in a global network and also smaller, local groups. The biggest DIYbio-platforms are diybio.org and sphere.diybio.org.
However, biohacking is highly controversial. Especially experiments with the own body and with experimental substances on the own body or the genetic modification of e.g. pathogenic bacteria are critically viewed.
Citizen science describes the engagement of people in scientific processes who are not tied to institutions in that field of science. Participation can range from the short-term collection of data to the intensive use of leisure time in order to delve deeper into a research topic together with scientists and/or other volunteers. Although many volunteer scientists do have a university degree, this is not a prerequisite for participating in research projects. However, it is important that scientific standards are adhered to. This pertains especially to transparency with regard to the data collection methodology and the open discussion of the results(GEWISS (2016): Green Paper. Citizen Science Strategy 2020 for Germany) .
By means of activities such as watching butterflies, photographing landscapes or transcribing old archive documents citizens can create new knowledge and contribute actively to shaping research.
Citizen Science Award
The Citizen Science Award has been awarded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research since 2015. It distinguishes excellent achievements of citizens who participate in selected Austrian research projects during a clearly defined period of time. In the first year participation was reserved for schools. As of 2016 interested people of all age groups are invited to take part in the projects.
Co-creation or co-design signifies the joint efforts of researchers and citizens to develop and conduct a research project together. Starting from the research question, the selection of a methodology to the collection, analysis and interpretation of data, every step of the research process is done in collaboration.
In citizen science different typologies exist. In a publication of Bonney, R. et. al. (2009) three types of projects were described: Contibutory, Collaborative and Co-Created.
By means of crowdfunding volunteers can support the development and implementation of scientific projects. This type of financing is also used in other sectors, e.g. in music, in film, in literature or in IT. A successful platform in the field of research is for example Sciencestarter.
Crowdsourcing is the name for a method where internal subtasks or problems are outsourced to interested persons. In this way the creativity/the knowledge of the “crowd” and the “wisdom of the crowd” are used to find quicker and better solutions. Crowdsourcing can be used in Citizen Science and Open Innovation. One example for a platform which invites the internet community to submit proposals for solution is Innocentive.
Community Science means research projects which are initiated by citizens, for example to examine the water or air quality in their residential environment by means of scientific methods. In London, for example, locals started the (already completed) project “Royal Dock Noise Mapping” to measure the noise level in their residential environment. The background of this initiative was the fact that due to the proximity of the airport people were very concerned about the increasing air traffic and noise and asked researchers for help.
Open Innovation – the opening up of rigid processes for input from outside – is also regarded as an umbrella term for innovation and gain of knowledge in the fields of technology and fundamental research. In contrast to Citizen Science Open Innovation does not focus on citizens but on processes. The term originally comes from the corporate sector.
Open Innovation Strategy
After a one-year long process involving the public and stakeholders a new Open Innovation Strategy for Austria was introduced in summer 2016. It presents a vision for 2025 with three fields of action and 14 specific measures.
Open Access means free and free of charge access to digital scientific contents and information on the internet but also free access to scientific literature and data.
Open Science is frequently defined as an umbrella term that involves various movements aiming to remove the barriers for sharing any kind of output, resources, methods or tools, at any stage of the research process. As such, open access to publications, open research data, open source software, open collaboration, open peer review, open notebooks, open educational resources, open monographs, citizen science, or research crowdfunding, fall into the boundaries of Open Science (Gema Bueno de la Fuente, n.d.).
Do-it-yourself-science (DIY-Science) refers to various grassroots activities which are embedded in the bottom-up movement. DIY- projects use scientific methods but are not integrated in a traditional research institution, university or company. They are conducted by associations, civil society organisations or individuals. Biohacking is the most popular kind of DIY-science. People with a strong interest in biology carry out experiments in their own laboratories in order to better understand their surrounding environment. The Manchester Digital Laboratory, Waag, or the Open bioLab Graz Austria (OLGA) are examples for biohacking grassroots activities.
An interesting interview with biologist, science hacker and community manager Lucy Patterson on this topic can be found HERE (in German).
Responsible Science, also known as “Responsible Research and Innovation” (RRI) in the EU context, actively involves the civil society in research and innovation processes in order to handle current challenges more effectively and in accordance with the values, expectations and needs of society. Austria, too, has included Responsible Science as an important element in the “Action plan for a competitive research area” of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). One of the first steps derived from this is the establishment of an Alliance for Responsible Science, which numerous institutions from science, research, education and practice have joined already.
Sparkling Science is an Austrian research programme in which pupils are directly involved in current research. Since the beginning of the programme in 2007 the integration of schools as fixed consortium partners in all project teams has been a prerequisite for the support of research work; since 2014 the participation of interested schools from the whole of Austria in selected Citizen Science pilot projects is also supported.
Storytelling is a method to help communicate better by imparting experiences in form of stories with specific characters and a clear plot. This method is especially suitable if you want to convey a specific topic such as citizen science to a heterogenous audience or community in a comprehensible way. Storytelling can be practiced in storytelling workshops.
In the case of volunteered computing people put the idle processor power of their computers, laptops or smartphones at the disposal of researchers. It can be used by research projects which require a lot of computing power by means of a special software (e.g. Boinc).
Young Science Centre
The Young Science centre for cooperation of science and schools offers all Austrian schools and research institutions a great number of possibilities to make contact with one another and to work together. The bundling of offers, projects and contacts creates synergy effects between science and schools. Moreover, an active network of educational and research institutions is created. The central hub of the center is the internet platform www.youngscience.at.
Center for Citizen Science
The Center acts as an information and service point for researchers, citizens and experts from different disciplines and cross-links the interested community within Austria and beyond.