Blog by Haishan Fu, Craig Hammer, and Edward Anderson: “Citizen science, a critical pillar of Open Science, advocates for greater citizen involvement in knowledge generation, research goals, and outcomes. By engaging citizens directly in data collection, drone imaging, and crowdsourcing into project design, we provide policymakers and citizens with valuable data and information they need to make informed and effective decisions.
Furthermore, abiding by the principles of citizen science, we can help communities establish a new social contract around data stewardship, grounded in the principles of value, trust, and equity, as proposed by the World Development Report 2021: Data for Better Lives. The report puts forward a vision of data governance that is multistakeholder and collaborative. It explicitly builds data production, protection, exchange, and use into planning and decision-making, and integrates participants from civil society, private sectors, and importantly, the public into the data life cycle and into the governance structures of the system.
As the experience of the Resilience Academy shows, increasing our commitment to citizen science by inviting public engagement before, during, and after development projects can help engage a wider swath of the public with the Bank’s Open Data Initiative.
The Tanzania-based project empowers students to adapt low-cost, low-complexity tools and open methods to collect and manage data from their changing environments. Resilience Academy students also participate in solving real-world challenges in their community, such as mapping flood- and rockfall-prone zones, surveying tourism and infrastructure needs, and other areas currently lacking critical data.
This “learning by doing” approach equips young people with the long-term tools, knowledge, and skills they need to address the world’s most pressing urban challenges and ensure resilient urban development. This project is demonstrating the many co-benefits that come from hands-on learning, job creation, and data management-related skills.
Incorporating citizen science into open data agendas and project design, however, will necessitate some changes to how the World Bank and other multilateral development agencies approach development projects….(More)”.