Beyond motivation? AAG 2015 Chicago CFP

Our call for papers…

Beyond motivation? Understanding enthusiasm in citizen science and volunteered geographic information.

Hilary Geoghegan (University of Reading) and Muki Haklay (UCL)

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In recent years, citizen science has gained recognition as a new frontier for knowledge creation and geographic understanding. Citizen science can be defined as the participation of non-professional scientists in scientific knowledge production (Bonney et al. 2009; Silvertown 2009), and can be seen as part of both a long tradition of amateur, volunteer and enthusiast participation in science and a wider phenomenon of new collaborative forms of knowledge creation facilitated by information and communication technology, as well as societal changes. For geographers and other professional researchers, the inclusion of many more participants in the process of scientific knowledge production is opening up new places and experiences that could not be captured before due to limits in time, financial resources and geographical coverage.

Understanding what motivates participation in citizen science and volunteered geographic information (VGI) activities is regarded by many practitioners and policymakers as the pathway to increased participation. Sometimes, it seems that this is a search for a magic lever to achieve this. However, in this session we move beyond narrow discussion on motivation, to explore what else matters in the context of citizen science and VGI participation.

This session seeks to explore and debate current research and practice moving beyond motivation, to consider the associated enthusiasm, materials and meanings of participating in citizen science and VGI. We welcome papers that explore (but are not limited to) the following themes:

· what motivates and sustains individual and/or collective participation in ‘citizen science’ and/or VGI

· socio-personal meanings of participation

· emotional drivers of participation

· the politics of participation

· ways in which motivation to participate in science increases and/or decreases across time and space, e.g. age-related participation, geographic location, access to resources

· understanding the ways in which citizens have chosen to participate historically

· stakes at play in participation as enjoyable leisure pursuit (e.g. RSPB Big Garden BirdWatch; Old Weather), community-defined projects (e.g. noise mapping in London) and life and death data collection (e.g. disaster mapping in Japan following nuclear accident)

· how technologies, gizmos and mapping devices alter levels of participation

· ways to enhance participation in ‘science’, enabling access, online collaboration and interdisciplinary communication

· what role creativity and learning play within participation

· how issues of digital and social inequalities influence participation, and what approaches are used to overcome them

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words (including name, affiliation, email, title and abstract) to h.geoghegan@reading.ac.uk by 31st October 2014.

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