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Engaging citizen scientists: Will the walls of the ivory towers come tumbling down?

Science is meant to serve and advance humanity. For more than 200 years, however, it has been conducted only by scientists, making it the domain of the highly (some might say over-) educated. An exclusive club, science is most often cloistered in the ivory towers of academia. While some argue that this exclusivity is critical for the success of science, we also live in a world where openness and accessibility are increasingly valued. Yet accrediting members of the public with the label “scientist” could be viewed as a threat to the closed system that keeps scientists in their privileged position. Fortunately, optimism has won the day as the scientific community, through the power of the Internet, has begun to embrace members of the public as scientific partners. Citizen scientists have been engaged to measure bird migration, the proliferation of plastics pollution, and disease outbreaks. As a scientist, are you afraid of competition from members of the public? If you are a member of the public, would you like to join this movement? Listen in as a group of citizen science gurus discusses its pros and cons. Together, let’s change the world for the better.

This webinar was recorded in Paris.

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Panel

Chris Lintott, Ph.D. (Oxford University, Oxford, UK)

Renata van der Weijden, Ph.D. (University College Roosevelt, Middleburg, The Netherlands)

François Taddei (Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI), Paris, France)

Olivier Le Gall, Ph.D. (INRA Bordeaux, France)

Sean Sanders, Ph.D. (Moderator; Science/AAAS, Washington, DC)

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