In the Congo Basin, Bayaka pygmies patrol their forests with handheld tracking devices. Using the devices to record instances of poaching, industrial roads and illegal logging, they map their landscape, documenting the course of deforestation and harmful development.
The project is part of an emerging field that its champions describe as the ‘new wave’ of citizen science. With endeavours ranging from air-pollution assessments in Europe to chimpanzee counting in Tanzania, the next generation of citizen science attempts to make communities active stakeholders in research that affects them, and use their work to push forward policy changes. This is one of the main points of focus of the London Citizen Cyberscience Summit being held this week at the Royal Geographical Society and University College London.
Although researchers have been calling on amateurs and enthusiasts for decades to aid in collecting and processing large volumes of data, the latest approaches aim to enlist the public in helping to shape research questions, says Francois Grey, a physicist at Tsinghua University in Beijing and coordinator of the Citizen Cyberscience Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. Grey, an organizer of the summit, maintains that communities can play a valuable part in setting the agenda for scientific investigations.
Written by Katherine Rowland, Nature. Continue HERE