The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) evolves

Logo: ECSA

Inspired by the approach of the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) in Great Britain, European institutions, museums, universities, and other interested entities came together in order to exchange ideas and advocate the idea of citizen science in Europe. While the term citizen science is well known in the US, and easily entered the UK, it now becomes a real movement throughout Europe, combining traditional activities of learned societies with modern internet or smartphone based approaches, adding links to different communities such as science shops, hackathons, or open science festivals.

The idea to develop the loose network into a more institutionalized organization was driven by the observation that structures with clear responsibilities may ease communication and strengthen the citizen science approach. Within ECSA as developing entity, several working groups develop suggestions and guidelines for different topics, for example a collation of best practices to run a citizen science project, of different ways of communication, on data tools and technology as well as of internal governance.

ECSA now is registered in Germany as a non profit association, the secretariat is currently in Berlin, at the Museum für Naturkunde. The next General Assembly is scheduled for November 26th 2014 in Berlin, the last one took place in April 2014 in Copenhagen, back to back with the Living Knowledge Conference. Main topics will be to finalize the strategic discussion in order to develop a working programme and funding strategy for ECSA as well as to discuss the progress achieved by the different working groups.

More information is available at the webpage:

Updated informationMarch 2020:

The concept of citizen science is becoming more and more popular across Europe. It opens up traditional science to citizens and allows them to contribute to parts or participate in whole scientific processes.

It started out as a loose network with the aim to democratise science possess, which has developed into a strong international network. The European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) is a member-based association founded in 2014. Within ECSA, several working groups develop proposals and guidelines on various topics, e.g. a compilation of best practices, data tools and technology, internal governance or inclusion and equity. ECSA is conducting a biannual international conference and also engages in the Citizen Science Global Partnership, a citizen science network on a global level. ECSA is now registered in Germany as a non-profit association, its headquarters are currently located in Berlin, in the Museum für Naturkunde.

In May 2020 the biennial ECSA Conference will take place in Trieste, Italy. Many exciting aspects, research results, projects on citizen science are presented here.

We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter or to become an individual or organizational member of ECSA:

First published in CJS Focus on Volunteering in association with The Conservation Volunteers on 15 September 2014