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Ethics of Citizen Science

Citizen science and other forms of public participation in scientific research are rapidly becoming more common and growing in scale. With this increase comes a pressing need to identify, understand, and address the various ethical concerns that accompany these innovative projects, including: participant privacy and confidentiality, participant safety and liability, exploitation and fair labor practices, ownership and intellectual property, transparency and data sharing, and the relationship of citizen science projects to traditional research ethics review.

CIPR is partnering with the Commons Lab at the  Wilson Center to help untangle this complicated web of ethical dimensions of citizen science. Our initial focus will be on helping citizen science projects successfully navigate ethical review processes through the convening of research ethics experts to engage with members of the Citizen Science Association, in-depth surveying of citizen science projects, and interactions with relevant funding and regulatory agencies, with the goal of developing a set of best practices, processes for ethical review, training workshops, and similar activities in support of the ethical management of citizen science initiatives.