Journal article

Challenges and solutions to establishing and sustaining citizen science projects in South Africa

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Hulbert JM, Turner SC, Scott SL

Publisher: American Jewish Committee

Publication year: 2019

Journal: Commentary

Volume number: 115

Issue number: 7

Start page: 1

End page: 4

Total number of pages: 4

ISSN: 0010-2601


Citizen science is a term for research that engages non-scientists in the collection and generation of data. Many citizen science projects exist within South Africa and, because of their success, we expect more projects will be initiated. In this Commentary, we discuss three projects based in, but not confined to, the Western Cape Province to provide context for their methods, specific objectives and overall desired impacts. We then identify a few challenges that we have faced from the researcher perspective and we provide recommendations for those interested in initiating a citizen science project in South Africa. Many projects involve citizen scientists because their participation enhances the breadth of the research through the collection of data over greater spatio-temporal scales.1-3 However, not all projects in South Africa have purely research objectives, some are education-oriented with the specific objective of empowering the participants. In some cases, the educational objectives may be motivated by the desire to engage local communities or by the understanding of ubuntu wisdom. Citizen science is therefore a powerful approach to address multiple objectives, but there are many challenges to achieving the desired outcomes. We outline these challenges below within the context of an education-oriented project, a research-oriented project and a project that combines the two objectives


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Last updated on 2020-07-05 at 22:41