Organising a cooperative meeting on citizen sciences

Card's author : Violette Roche - Tela Botanica
Card's type of licence : Creative Commons BY-SA
Testimonies :

Organised on 22nd and 23rd October 2009 in Montpellier

The meeting on Citizen sciences & Biodiversity tool place on the 22nd and 23rd of October 2009 at the University of Montpellier 2. Associations, territorial groups, public and scientific institutions and people…totalling around 200 participants who met to exchange and pool their knowledge and practices on land during this first national meeting.
This event was given a participatory approach by using the potential of ICT tools and the Internet:

At the start

  • A wikini site was created from the start of the meeting project and was added to along the way.
  • A discussion list was opened and people could subscribe to it using the Wiki homepage. At the preparatory stage of the meeting around one hundred people had registered. The organising committee used this to prepare the workshops (opinions on the suggested topics, searching for speakers, technical matters to broadcast the event on video…).
  • A call for this event was launched through a form (Google Docs): anyone contributing a project on citizen sciences could present their initiative freely. It was therefore referenced automatically on a map of citizen science projects. Later on this collection was edited and published in a book of nearly fifty pages, a directory of citizen sciences.
  • Since the topics were identified and posted on-line on the wiki, under each of them there was space for comments that allowed internet users to give their opinions (for example, on the page of the workshop on ""Discussing the quality of volunteer data "").
  • Two spaces were also made available to participants so they could share their resources: a library to indicate bibliographic references and a video gallery.
  • A survey was distributed among volunteers working on these projects references on the map and the booklet; this allowed these key actors in citizen sciences to speak.

During the meeting

  • Live broadcasting was set up for the meeting using the free on-line system Justin TV, with a space for comments below (which also was helpful to solve any technical issues).
  • The list of participants was also made available on-line.
  • On the homepage there was a posting board that allowed placing one's name on a map (participants were given two badges for this) and to post posters and small adverts (I'm looking for, I suggest).
  • Breaks were also planned in advance: common meals at the University Canteen of the University of Montpellier 2 (tickets bore a QR code reading ""Miam-miam: an affectionate nod to augmented reality!), a coffee break with the association Artisans du Monde, a cocktail and a guided tour of the aquarium MarĂ©e Nostrum.

After the meeting

Overall impression made by Violette Roche, the chief organiser of the event from Tela Botanica

  • Not all tools were used due to a lack of facilitation (the posting board, comments on the site, the list after the meeting).

  • The booklet that was published and distributed after the event was very important: you need something concrete, something physical.
  • The meeting allowed citizen sciences to become known to people: a second meeting may be organised in Paris, the booklet may be re-edited by an association and resource platform projects are starting to emerge!