HomeCitizen Science with and within the Social Sciences and the Humanities: exploring the fundamentals

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Published on Wednesday, April 06, 2022


Call for abstract for the special issue “Citizen Science with and within the Social Sciences and the Humanities: exploring the fundamentals” of the open access philosophical journal Etica&Politica. The special issue aims at introducing the history, current landscape and potentialities of citizen science practices involving the Social Sciences and the Humanities, focusing more on the cases where Social Sciences and Humanities perform citizen science, and with a particular attention to the ethical and political aspects.



The identification of “citizen science” as an umbrella term, or “common name” gathering a “wide range of activities and practices” (Haklay et al, 2020), together with a raising interest for renewed collaborations between research and society (Mahr et al, 2018), has caused a steady increase in visibility for citizen science practices in recent years. Despite all, still the definition of citizen science is problematic (Haklay et al, 2021), and citizen science as a field seems somewhat resistant to obeying a limited set of definitions and instead attracts discussions about what type of activities and practices should be included in it. 

Even if it is generally agreed that citizen science is an interdisciplinary endeavour, some disciplines are nevertheless perceived as less represented than others. This is the case of social sciences and humanities (SSH), even if these disciplines have a long tradition of collaboration with society to tackle research questions and for civic engagement (Albert et al, 2021). Some hypothesis have been advanced regarding this lack of recognition of the contribution of the SSH to citizen science, such as a preponderant epistemological orientation towards the natural sciences paradigm in citizen science practice, or an enduring controversy over the legitimacy of SSH and its academic status, methodological and ethical concerns when dealing with ‘sensitive’ SSH topics, or the depoliticisation and marginalisation of SSH with the “neoliberal” turn in academia (Tauginienė et al, 2020). Other surrounding arguments could be still explored, taking as a starting point the multilingual, socio-culturally grounded practices of the SSH disciplines. For instance, when searching databases such as Scopus or Web of Science,  SSH research is not well represented in the results (Pranckutė, 2021): a fact that should remind us that most SSH research is undertaken in languages other than English, and that should invite us to a deeper exploration of the different, multilingual labels used within SSH to refer to longstanding practices, which are now bundled under the term "citizen science", in order to make it even more explicit why terminology matters (Eitzel et al, 2017) and to understand their effects on practices and the eventual politics of science. Indeed, participatory research methods, action-research, co-design, public humanities, more recently called also “citizen humanities” (Heinisch et al, 2021), as well as other practices that see a collaboration between professional (in academic in other research performing organisations) and non professional researchers/citizens, can be traced in SSH disciplines. These activities can be researchers-led, crowdsourcing or participatory approaches involving all the stakeholders in all the research cycle. An exploration of the disciplinary and country-based practices involving the SSH and falling under the current “citizen science” label, will contribute to a more precise knowledge of the longstanding contribution of the SSH to citizen science. 

This special issue of Etica&Politica/Ethics&Politics aims at introducing the history, current landscape and potentialities of citizen science practices involving the Social Sciences and the Humanities, focusing more on these cases where SSH perform citizen science, rather than reflect on it.

We welcome abstracts that:

  • consider how different disciplines of the social sciences and the humanities do “citizen science” and/or what role SSH can play in this landscape, either in a historical perspective starting from the XXth century, or by highlighting specific current projects. Attention needs to be given on the ethical and political aspects. 
  • exploring, questioning and/or illustrating the link between citizen science and politics. Indeed, citizen science is often seen as a way for democratising research and also a way to provide decision makers with valuable, citizen-generated data able to inform policy making processes.
  • analyse ethical issues related to citizen involvement in science and policy making processes generated or facilitated by citizen science, including citizen-generated data gathering, ownership/usage. 

The authors of the accepted abstracts will be further invited to submit a full paper. Both the abstracts and the papers will be submitted to a blind review process.

Editors of the special issue

  • Alessia Smaniotto, EHESS/OpenEdition Centre/OPERAS, alessia.smaniotto[at]openedition.org
  • Antonella Passani, T6 Ecosystems, a.passani[at]t-6.it

Submission guidelines

  • Abstract length: max 750 words
  • Deadline for submitting your abstract: 10th of June 2022
  • Feedback on the acceptance of abstract will be provided by 30th July 2022
  • Full Papers length: between 4000 and 7500 words
  • Deadline for submitting the full paper: 30th of November 2022
  • Languages: abstracts and papers can be written in English or Italian. French and Spanish are also welcome.

Please submit your abstract on EasyChair at the following link. The platform will ask your contacts details, some additional info and then to upload the abstract as a separate document. The abstract document must be anonymous. This will allow us to assure a blind review process (your contacts will not be shared with reviewers). 

Expected publication of the special issue: June 2023

Etica&Politica / Ethics&Politics editorial guidelines

The final paper must be accompanied by a shorter final abstract (200 words) and 5 keywords. Both the 200 words abstract and the keywords must be in English. 

All citation formats are accepted as far as consistently used within the manuscript.

Etica&Politica/Ethics&Politics is an open access philosophical journal, published only in electronic format, published by Edizioni Università di Trieste.


Albert, A., Balázs, B., Butkevičienė, E., Mayer, K., and Perelló, J. (2021), Citizen Social Science: New and EstablishedApproaches to Participation in Social Research. In: The Science of Citizen Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58278-4_2

Eitzel, M.V., Cappadonna, J.L., Santos-Lang, C., Duerr, R.E., Virapongse, A., West, S.E., Kyba, C.C.M., Bowser, A., Cooper, C.B., Sforzi, A., Metcalfe, A.N., Harris, E.S., Thiel, M., Haklay, M., Ponciano, L., Roche, J., Ceccaroni, L., Shilling, F.M., Dörler, D., Heigl, F., Kiessling, T., Davis, B.Y. and Jiang, Q., (2017). Citizen Science Terminology Matters: Exploring Key Terms. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, 2(1), p.1. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/cstp.96

Haklay, M., Dörler, D., Heigl, F., Manzoni, M., Hecker, S., Vohland, K. (2021). What Is Citizen Science? The Challenges of Definition. In: The Science of Citizen Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58278-4_2

Haklay, M., Motion, A., Balázs, B., Kieslinger, B., Greshake T. Bastian, Nold, C., Dörler, D., Fraisl, D., Riemenschneider, D., Heigl, F., Brounéus, F., Hager, G., Heuer, K., Wagenknecht, K., Vohland, K., Shanley, L., Deveaux, L., Ceccaroni, L., Weißpflug, M., … Wehn, U. (2020). ECSA's Characteristics of Citizen Science. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3758668

Heinisch, B., Oswald, K., Weißpflug, M., Shuttleworth, S. and Belknap, G. (2021). Citizen Humanities. In: The Science of Citizen Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-58278-4_2

Mahr D., Gobel C., Irwin A. et Vohland K., (2018), Watching or being watched. Enhancing productive discussion between the citizen sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, in Hecker S., Haklay M., Bowser A., Makuch Z., Vogel J. et Bonn A., Citizen Science: Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy, UCL Press, London

Pranckutė, R., (2021). Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus: The Titans of Bibliographic Information in Today’s Academic World. Publications 9 (1), 12. https://doi.org/10.3390/publications9010012 

Tauginienė L., Butkevičienė E., Vohland K., Heinisch B., Daskolia M., Suškevičs M., Portela M., Balázs B.& Prūse B.. (2020) Citizen science in the social sciences and humanities: the power of interdisciplinarity. PALGRAVE COMMUNICATIONS 6(1): 89 https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-0471-y


  • Friday, June 10, 2022


  • citizen science, participatory research, social science, humanity, ethic, politic, policy making, data gathering, data sharing, public engagement, civic research


  • Alessia Smaniotto
    courriel : alessia [dot] smaniotto [at] openedition [dot] org
  • Antonella Passani
    courriel : a [dot] passani [at] t-6 [dot] it

Reference Urls

Information source

  • Alessia Smaniotto
    courriel : alessia [dot] smaniotto [at] openedition [dot] org


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Citizen Science with and within the Social Sciences and the Humanities: exploring the fundamentals », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, April 06, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/18n9

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