A Citizen Science Guide for Research Libraries


From the LIBER Citizen Science Working Group.

A guide book of around one hundred pages to be released incrementally in sections before the end of 2021.

Working document - v1.0 GitHub #268bdca, 27 Jan 2021 | Issue tracker | Notes

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Invite to contribute

Contributions are warmly welcomed by the editorial board on ideas or examples of connecting the public with research library activities. Different types and sizes of contributions welcome: step-by-step guides, short picture and documentation stories, to pointers to online resources like videos or learning packages. In addition suggestions for sections outline are welcome. The publication will be peer reviewed and has an editorial board as well as external reviewers – details will be announced soon.

Mission statement

The guide is designed to be a practical and compact gateway publication for the purpose of assisting research libraries to start setting up a Citizen Science programme.

Citizen Science for research libraries is a way to build new and more engaged audiences as a way to establish new links between science and society.

The guide will address the unique context of research libraries – as becoming the ‘go to place’ for the new and exciting Open Science data world that is opening up to the wider public.

As a starting point the guide will use the four recommendations for Citizen Science from the LIBER Open Science Roadmap: infrastructures; good scientific practice; guidelines, and; skilling.


The content will be organised around the following four main sections and release in sequential modules for reuse. The top level sections are set but the section contents should be seen as working ideas or suggestions for content.

  1. Infrastructures: As being active in the development of infrastructure for researchers to carry out Citizen Science;

    • Open Science research toolkits for the public: Cloud based open-source research tools and webspace provision for the public, as well as simple guides for their use. (case study)
    • Library Space Technology Network (LSTN) - ‘The LSTN project offers public library communities the chance to build and engage with space technology’. Opportunity to install ground station, explore metadata, and engage in micro-satellites with MetaSat. Biblioteca Municipală “B.P. Hasdeu” Chișinău, Moldova. LSTN is a project by Wolbach Library in collaboration with Libre Space Foundation. (case study)
    • Citizen Science and Open Access Literature - Citizen Dashboards, data mining, etc. How can the public use and distribute OA literature at the same time as learning data science skills. Open Climate Knowledge is one such project in the area of climate change. (case study)
  2. Good [open] scientific practice: as managing bodies around knowledge libraries that can translate good [Open Science] scholarly practice into new Citizen Science fields;

    • Ethics, good practices
    • Open Hardware: DIY computing, micro-computers, and Raspberry Pis
    • Coding: Democratizing data science - British Library Notebook examples - Jupyter Notebooks
    • Wikimedia in residence, and Wikimedia Open Science fellow
    • Qualified self and health: For example OpenHuman Digital civics: volunteering, privacy, infodemic, extending open peer review to news media.
    • Decolonising science, Black Lives Matter (BLM), and Black History
  3. Guidelines: develop guidelines for Citizen Science activities involving the library, and;

    • Advocacy
    • Strategy
    • UN Sustainable Development Goals
    • Creating a single point of contact
    • Spaces and services for youth climate activism, climate activism, Energy Tech - e.g., Naturkundemuseum Berlin. Moving from activism to participation and learning.
    • Digital Sovereignty AKA Smart Cities: Barcelona City programme - EU funded Decode project. (case study)
    • Library Labs: new spaces and activities: LIL Library Innovation Lab, Harvard Law Library - Alterspace and Git Physical. British Library ‘Building Library Labs’ series. Also GLAM Lab, see the book Open a Glam Lab from https://glamlabs.io/
    • Exhibition and accompanying learning activities: onsite, offsite, outside, seasonal.
    • How to develop, implement, and evaluate CS programme.
    • What does it mean that CS is one of the 8 pillars of Open Science?
    • E-course about Citizen Science (Szymon Andrzejewski): what are considerations for making sure content is MOOC compatible?
  4. Skills: Citizen Science skills development for staff, researchers, and public.

    • Research data management and document/media preservation - skilling
    • Data skills: Gov data, reuse data, finding data; Library skills and competence; FAIR for the public.
    • Software citation for DIY projects and micro-computing, sensing, drones, etc.
    • 3D scanning, photogrammetry, models and RDM. (case study)
    • Infodemic response - COVID WHO/Wikipedia (are they working with libraries - will ask)
    • Project coordination & management

Glossary: start with Simple Knowledge Organization System (SKOS) terms, then fit to taxonomies, add to Wikidata, then describe. Use as a SEO primer. Here is an Open Science example.


Editor-in-chief, Simon Worthington, simon.worthington@tib.eu | @mrchristian99


First section will be released mid-April 2021, with the publication released as a first full version by the end of 2021.


The book is intended as a short guide and will be approximately one hundred pages in length. The publication will be produced in conventional and sprint/dash book sprints, as multi-format and multi-channel distribution (print-on-demand, PDF, Webbook W3C+, website, eBook, and as a Jupyter Book – and will be technically designed for reuse, for example in – community translations or in MOOCs. High quality open standards, metadata, and modern sematic/computational publishing are a priority and research interest of the production process.

Book sections will be released incrementally as they are ready. Ideally the book will become a community owned publication with regular updates.


We would like to acknowledge The Library & Community Guide to Citizen Science published by SciStarter as an inspiration for the idea for our publication. Additionally The Turing Way from the Alan Turing Institute is worth mentioning as a community model of open science publishing that we look to emulate.

An Open Science publication

The publication will be produced as an Open Access publication and use Open Science practices – where appropriate – to ensure the research is open and reusable as possible, including: open data, open standards, PIDs, open peer review, open source software, and open methods, etc.

© 2021 the authors. All content licensed Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0), unless otherwise stated. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ | Publication: https://github.com/CitSci-WG/guide


Ayris, Paul, Bernal, Isabel, Cavalli, Valentino, Dorch, Bertil, Frey, Jeannette, Hallik, Martin, Hormia-Poutanen, Kristiina, et al. “LIBER Open Science Roadmap”. Zenodo, July 2, 2018. doi: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1303002. Page 29.

Mahey, Al-Abdulla, Ames, Bray, Candela, Chambers, Derven, et al. Open a Glam Lab. Doha, Qatar: Digital Cultural Heritage Innovation Labs, 2019. https://glamlabs.io/books/open-a-glam-lab/.

Cavalier, Darlene, Caroline Nickerson, Robin Salthouse, and Dan Stanton, eds. The Library & Community Guide to Citizen Science. SciStarter, 2020 (Revised 2021). http://media.scistarter.org/curated/The+Library+and+Community+Guide+to+Citizen+Science.pdf.

Arnold, Becky, Louise Bowler, Sarah Gibson, Patricia Herterich, Rosie Higman, Anna Krystalli, Alexander Morley, Martin O’Reilly, Kirstie Whitaker, and The Turing Way Community. The Turing Way: A Handbook for Reproducible Data Science, 2019. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3233986.


© 2021 the authors. All content licensed Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0), unless otherwise stated. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ | Publication: https://github.com/CitSci-WG/guide.

Imprint: Responsible for the content of the domain https://github.com/CitSci-WG/guide/ - Simon Worthington (LIBER CSWG Secretary), Lausitzer Platz 10, 10997 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: simon.worthington AT tib.eu - Internet: https://libereurope.eu/working-group/liber-citizen-science-working-group/. The respective authors are responsible for the content of their posts.

Data protection: No data trackers are used on this site and no personal information is stored. Data protection notice - version 1.0, 25 Jan 2021.