Skip to main content

jerhreCitizen science or scientific citizenship? Disentangling the uses of public engagement rhetoric in national research initiatives

J. Patrick Woolley, Michelle L. McGowan, Harriet J. A. Teare, Victoria Coathup, Jennifer R. Fishman, Richard A. Settersten Jr., Sigrid Sterckx, Jane Kaye & Eric T. Juengst

Published 2016 June 4 in BMC Medical Ethics.

The language of “participant-driven research,” “crowdsourcing” and “citizen science” is increasingly being used to encourage the public to become involved in research ventures as both subjects and scientists. Originally, these labels were invoked by volunteer research efforts propelled by amateurs outside of traditional research institutions and aimed at appealing to those looking for more “democratic,” “patient-centric,” or “lay” alternatives to the professional science establishment. As mainstream translational biomedical research requires increasingly larger participant pools, however, corporate, academic and governmental research programs are embracing this populist rhetoric to encourage wider public participation.