Piloting Citizen Science in Southeast Europe

In March and April the CeOS_SE project ran two Citizen Science activities in Plovid, Bulgaria and Zagreb, Croatia. Both events were open to the public and took place at the premises of a local public library. The activities were designed to raise awareness of Open Science and Citizen Science in these regions and to pilot its practice.

On the 19th April, project members from the University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Sofia, organised the workshop: ‘Citizen Science and Copyright in Libraries’. The event took place at the National Library “Ivan Vazov”, Plovdiv, and engaged members of the public in a game-based activity on the theme of copyright in libraries.

To raise awareness of the benefit and need for Open and Citizen Science, Svetoslava Dimitrova, PhD presented the “Citizen-Enhanced Open Science in Southeastern Europe Higher Education Knowledge Hubs (CeOS_SE)”. The target groups and the actuality, needs and motivation for the project were discussed. Prof. Tereza Trencheva, PhD then presented the paper Bulgarian Copyright and Related Rights Law: a Short Overview for Libraries, including the Bulgarian acts that fall in the category of copyright. The basics of copyright were discussed, such as the subject matter that can be copyrighted, the duration and exceptions to copyright, and why copyright issues are so important to libraries and their staff.

Participants were then engaged in a game-based experiment in which they were given fictional roles. The roles included a student at a university library, the director of a public library, a social media manager, the mayor of a small village, a graphic designer in an advertising agency, the owner of an IT company, and a teacher in elementary school. The aim of the activity was to prove that copyright could be beneficial for a diverse number of citizens.

On the 2nd May The National and University Library in Zagreb organized the citizen science activity: ‘Development of the thematic collection: “Bees, Life, People”, together with the Ivanić-Grad City Library and the Ivan Švear Ivanić-Grad High School, Croatia. The aim of the activity was to jointly create a thematic collection on the topic of bees and publish it on the Croatian Web Archive.

Students from the High School “Ivan Švear” Ivanić-Grad participated in this workshop in which librarians – information experts – presented the subject of open science and citizen science and introduced the Croatian Web Archive.

Students were taught how to search, evaluate and select content that thematically corresponded to the collection. NSK librarians then curated and archived the submitted content to create a thematic collection. This activity aimed to encourage students to do independent research and promoted information literacy, but also helped to expand knowledge about bees and their importance in the ecosystem. The thematic collection will be published and permanently available (Open Access) on the Croatian Web Archive, freely available to all interested parties.

In the coming months, CeOS_SE will be running more Citizen Science activities in the local regions where project partners are based. Keep an eye on our LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook channels for updates.