Tagged / Citizen Science

The Science Bus is coming to town!

The Science Bus is coming!

How clean is the air on your street, and can you measure this yourself? Do you know what lives in your yogurt? And how can you charge your phone when you don’t have access to electricity? We want to find out with you! The Science Bus brings you workshops and tools to find the answers to these questions and investigate the world around you.

The Science Bus will travel across Europe in search of folk remedies until November 2017. A folk remedy is an everyday trick or “life hack” that anyone can use to make or fix just about anything. Some of this knowledge might even have been around for hundreds (maybe thousands!) of years.

In partnership with the Student Project Bank and SportBU, the Science Bus will be hosted at Slades Farm Family Festival on Sunday 16th July and at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre from 18th – 21st July. Come along and take part in a workshop!

Why are we on a hunt for folk remedies?

We’d like to put them to the test! How do these remedies work? What are the ingredients? What are the scientific principles behind them? And what can we do to improve them? By combining old knowledge with new technologies, we want to make these clever folk remedies accessible to everyone.

The Science Bus is hosting workshops all around Europe to engage curious minds and encourage people to share their life hacks. The Science Bus will stop at festivals, campsites and marketplaces. In the workshops, our captains will investigate these folk remedies with you. They’ll bring along handy instructions and Do-It-Yourself (research) tools for you to build simple, scientific instruments. This is science for everyone!

Why is the Science Bus important?

We are so used to buying everything we need (and more) that we tend to forget that we can produce and fix things ourselves. We’re not sure exactly what’s in our food, where our products are made , what is right or wrong, or what our options are. Our goal with the Science Bus is to raise questions, encourage critical thinking and investigate our daily environment together. Why? We want as many people as possible to experience that making things themselves and gathering knowledge is both easy and fun!

Catch the Science Bus

The Science Bus will be driving around Europe until November 2017: from the UK to Slovenia, Spain, Germany and many places in-between. The Science Bus captains will share their adventures and discoveries via our website and social media. Do you know any clever folk remedies? Share them with our captains or via our website so that everyone can make use of it! Get involved and follow the Science Bus via togethersciencebus.eu or #sciencebus and be sure to follow it on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

Who is behind the Science Bus?

The Science Bus project is realised by a group of enthusiastic makers from Waag Society – institute for art, science and technology – based in Amsterdam and is part of the European project, “Doing It Together Science.” Within this project, research institutions work together with science galleries, museums and art institutions to engage as many people as possible with citizen science. By hosting innovative workshops, exhibitions and activities all around Europe, the eleven partners show that citizen science is an accessible and fun way to explore the world around you. For more information check out togetherscience.eu.

“Open science does not equal open access” – so what is it then?

open science principlesOpen science is the movement to make scientific research, data and dissemination accessible to all levels of an inquiring society, amateur or professional. It incorporates open access publishing as a key principle, alongside open data, open source, open methodology, open peer review and open educational resources. Examples of movements within open science include citizen science (whereby research is conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur or nonprofessional scientists) and open data (data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control). There is an excellent introduction to open science available here: what, exactly, is open science?

open science does not equal open access The open science movement is gaining momentum. Some research funders, such as the UK Research Councils and European Commission for example, now have mandates in place to enforce open access publishing and open data sharing as a requirement of receiving their funding. The RCUK public engagement strategy states the UK Research Councils will support collaborative and co-produced research (e.g. citizen science, community engagement and social participation) and the councils have funded a number of open science research projects, for example, EPSRC funded UCL’s ‘Extreme’ Citizen Science (ExCiteS) project and AHRC funded Oxford’s Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 20th Centuries.

A substantial and growing number of researchers are now embedding the principles of open science in how they design and conduct research. Dr Michael Pocock, an ecologist at CEH NERC, for example, is a keen advocate of open science and has led several citizen science projects with the aim of collectively undertaking hypothesis-led research. He has authored these excellent slides – Real science and real engagement: the value of citizen science.
openscienceThe European-funded project FOSTER (Facilitate Open Science Training for European Research) aims to establish mechanisms for researchers to embed open sciences in their daily workflow, thus supporting them to optimize their research visibility and impact. The project has created an excellent resource bank that provides a general introduction to the various components and philosophies of open science including why open science is essential to rigorous, reproducible and transparent research, as well as to future research evaluation criteria focused on societal impact.

The Open Science Federation website is an excellent source of information and inspiring ideas of how to embed open science into your research. There is an open science Twitter account if you want to keep up to date with open science information from around the world – @openscience.

If you are interested in building open science principles into your next research project, then speak with your Research Facilitator.