This book provides a detailed discussion of the manner in which citizen science can and has been used to inform and engage the general public in science. The starting point is an investigation of the current understanding of the term “citizen science” and how different organisations collect, organise and analyze the data collected by citizen scientists.
The individual chapters deal with specific elements of citizen science such as new technology, social networks, education and policy environments to identify how these become enablers for a greater engagement by the general public. It also identifies the challenges that may occur when applying citizen science in the real world, such as introducing techniques into socially different environments and the barriers for scientists engaging in the anonymous and volatile nature of citizen participation in science.
While the book does have a clear structure it is not a requirement to read it sequentially. Each chapter is a stand-alone paper with its own references and can be consumed with little reference to preceding chapters. The preface provides a great resource that can be used as a guide for navigating the chapters and after the introduction provided in the first chapter, I found myself reading it in a more thematic approach than suggested by the authors.
The book holds something for anyone looking to understand the recent developments in citizen science over the last few decades and signposts this with a considerable number of references to existing projects that may be analysed to aid further understanding. From a personal perspective it provided a real insight into how technology can be leveraged to meet the need for improved social engagement, and a review of the motivations that individuals cite for engaging in citizen science. Based on these two chapters alone the book has become an invaluable resource and I’d recommend it anyone who is looking to understand the current state of citizen science and how it can be applied effectively to environmental research.