MICS brings together six partners to develop an integrated platform of metrics and instruments to measure costs and benefits of citizen science. These metrics will consider the impacts of citizen science on the following domains:
The MICS project adopts and adapts the best practice generated by the Ground Truth 2.0 project in the co-creation of hands-on citizen science validated in four case-study sites across Europe, resulting in a comprehensive conceptual framework and clear recommendations for those involved in citizen-science projects. The four sites (in the UK, Italy, Hungary and Romania) explore the co-creation of citizen science in regions with differing needs, contexts, and approaches to environment management (for example, river restoration and nature-based solutions), and with various levels of citizen-science application.
Provide comprehensive, participatory and inclusive metrics and instruments to evaluate citizen science impacts
Implement an impact-assessment knowledge-base through toolboxes for methods application, information visualisation, and delivery to decision makers, citizens and researchers
Improve the effectiveness of nature-based solutions through test-site development and citizen-science tool validation
Generate new approaches that strengthen the role of citizen science in supporting research and development
Foster a citizen-science approach to increase the extent to which scientific evidence is taken up by policy makers through recommendations and guidelines
The MICS's tools measuring the impacts of citizen science could make it easier to communicate the benefits of specific solutions, for example, nature-based solutions, leading to increased funding and uptake for these interventions.
MICS will create a platform which could be used to assess the impact of any citizen-science project, whether it is at the planning stage or years after the project’s completion. Providing a clear framework for measuring impact will help to make citizen science more efficient and effective, reduce costs, and spread the use of citizen science more widely. All of this will strengthen the role played by citizen science in research and informing policy.
Luigi Ceccaroni, the coordinator of the project, said: “It’s totally applicable to any citizen-science project and MICS plans to integrate its impact-assessment tool into platforms like EU-Citizen.Science and COS4CLOUD. The project might help to demonstrate that the citizen-involvement angle has serious legs and that millions of people using apps to monitor the environment can make a difference. This citizen participation can build crucial political support for environmental action.”
The following users will be able to take advantage of the MICS platform:
Civic educators and scientists as project managers or project leaders
Project managers and project leaders dealing with citizen science projects can use the MICS tools to assess the impact of their project and to compare it with other projects. If their project is above average, they can then publicise it and raise awareness about it. The platform will also provide them with a framework to describe their project in a detailed and standardised way.
Public authorities and decision-makers (including policymakers)
This is a broad group comprising local and regional authorities, and public administrations at the national and international level, such as: the European Commission; entities responsible for the development of monitoring programmes; entities responsible for reporting and policy. They might be curious to know the impact of projects they funded, and they will learn something about maximising the impact of future investments in citizen science. They might also require project proposers to assess the potential impact of a project using the MICS platform.
Researchers and scientists
The research community, particularly researchers working in the field of citizen science, might become interested in the MICS platform’s development, results and innovation, and will find unforeseen uses of the platform, for example in the context of data quality assessment, knowledge representation and standardisation, or as an element of future projects.
Citizen-science networks, such as ECSA, ACSA, CSA or EU-Citizen.Science can use the MICS tools to evaluate citizen-science activities, to study participation patterns, and to produce statistical analysis.
Citizens might be able to find projects that fit their interests/values/skills and connect to them.
Photo credits: River Restoration Centre