Been fermenting ideas about how to approach the citizen science in the H2020 proposal. I'm trying to connect dots through what the involved have been saying. It's maybe some rambling, bear with me.
@lucy has been mentioning Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets in our conversations and it reminds me of a similar book about mushroom cultivation that I've read. The story of these kinds of books is usually similar: passionate person, usually nearing the end of their career, share the expertise they have built over 20-50 years of doing it in the field. So they are not scientific reports, and usually the writers are not scientists. You'll read things like "use empty jam jars and cook them in your pressure cooker on the stove". But: the decades of experience are as valid as what is regarded as science. Even if the knowledge is not "formalized" in papers or articles: the results have been tested, reproduced over decades. I'd say this makes this kind of knowledge more valid than science: it's antifragile.
So these books and their impact is not new, but the approach is not efficient (takes a lifetime to make them) or sufficient (we don't have many lifetimes left to solve our problems). This is where the collective intelligence tools can make a big difference: can we crowdsource a highly locally contextualized manual of the same level with a large group of citizen researchers, over eg. 2 years?
This is perfect material for energetic wanna-be mushroom farmers and I'm sure every single local mushroom producer has in some way benefited from Stamets' knowledge. It connects to what Milan said about wanting a connection to local entrepreneurship. The kind of data that is produced by citizen science is potentially readily usable for entrepreneurship.
We have positive experiences ourselves with doing research to draft manuals. We crowdsourced (among a handful of people) our own manual on mushroom materials about two years ago. The impact locally has been big. It has enabled hundreds, if not thousands, of people to start right away and has helped out several startups. There's signs that the impact is also there internationally. Next week we're doing a Wikithon to make more different manuals. These are some methods we could use.
So @cindy mentions correctly that
Citizen data is of a different scale and provides a different perspective: it is often hyperlocal and is sometimes accompanied by qualitative context which provides insight and granularity that 'professional data' that aims to be 'objective' does not. They have a complementary role and so the real issue in my opinion is that this is not generally recognised and is at odds with the way canonical science currently operates.
Basically I understand it as more applied & contextual knowledge. More applied than how it is generally understood by science (applied research funding calls are still more theoretical). And in my activities as a social entrepreneur, it is all about contextual knowledge. In essence entrepreneurship is high-tempo interdisciplinary science for me.
Thoughts? Does anyone have other conclusions, or similar ones?
ping @anique.yael @alberto @rachel