[RRI Good Practice] The First Citizen Science Guide in Serbian

What is the good practice about?

The ‘Citizen Science Guide’ has been written by members of the STAR Center of Excellence for Behavioral Research in Psychology at Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad. This is the first guide of this sort in Serbia, developed with the aim to provide the most relevant and necessary information for planning and realization of all phases of various types of citizen science projects, as well as to strengthen researchers, members of various organisations and institutions, and citizens in Serbia to use the citizen science approach in their research and problem-solving strategies. It is written for beginners, i.e., clear and simple, and contains practical instructions, examples, tips, and resources to help anyone either participate in or lead a citizen science project.

The Guide contains practical instructions and guidelines for conducting different types of citizen science projects, which could involve various stakeholders or be initiated by them. The authors describe in the Guide how to identify potential partners and stakeholders and what are key aspects of the evaluation of the project results and success. It is available as open source document http://star.ff.uns.ac.rs/genius/vodic_za_gradjansku_nauku.pdf and can be used by everyone under the CC-BY license.

Why is this initiative needed?

Considering the growing recognition of importance of open science in science democratization and accessibility of scientific data and information, citizen science, as a part of open science, has become an increasingly important resource for scientists and all interested parties. It contributes to facilitating the science democratization, representing essential step in identification and carried out the real needs of the community, and can influence on policies and practices dedicated to improving quality of life. In Serbia, the citizen science projects were not common and only a few has been realized (e.g., in STAR Center - http://star.ff.uns.ac.rs/en_volonterska_nauka.php and Center for Promotion of Science - https://www.cpn.edu.rs/programi/terrifica/).

Thus, the citizen science approach is new in Serbian academic and citizens’ communities and there is no systematic education regarding the planning, realisation, and evaluation of citizen science projects. Furthermore, sometimes, the citizen science approach is only seen as a contributory project, in which citizens only collect the data, while other types – collaborative and co-created projects – in which citizens participate in other phases of the projects (i.e., design of the project, formulation of research question, interpretation of the data, etc.), were neglected. Moreover, citizen science projects were mostly seen as ecology projects or projects which include some kind of environmental monitoring, while their role is not so visible in other disciplines, i.e., in social sciences. Therefore, this Guide provides all the necessary information and practical guidelines for successful realization of all phases of all types of citizen science project in all scientific disciplines. Additionally, interested parties in Serbia (and in Western Balkan countries with the similar languages) need to be further encouraged and empowered to implement citizen science projects in their work and practices and boost the collaboration between researchers and citizens in solving the important scientific or community problems.

What are the main objectives?

The objective of the Guide is to provide all the necessary and sufficient information for the planning and implementation of the citizen science project in a simple way, as well as its dissemination, communication, exploitation, and evaluation. It contains practical instructions for successfully creating a citizen science project and tips and examples of good practices resulting from citizen science projects conducted in the STAR Center. After reading this Guide, researchers will be able to consider all the challenges and benefits of citizen science and decide whether it is an adequate framework for the research they wish to conduct and if it is, what main questions and issues are needed to consider in each phase of citizen science project. Overall, this Guide aims to contribute to the more systematic approach in planning, realisation, and evaluation of citizen science projects, from which everyone will benefit.

What are the main activities?

The Guide is in Serbian and although it is intended for people from the Serbian speaking area, it could be used in areas with similar languages (i.e., Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, Montenegro). Therefore, the content of the Guide covers aspects of citizen science projects in general, independent of the local context. As noted, this Guide should motivate implementation of citizen science approach into local research and practice in line with transformation trends in scientific practices and innovation in science. Moreover, the Guide contains examples and tips from our experience with citizen science projects within STAR Center, aimed to raise awareness of the importance of a twin study in Serbia and to promote behavioral genetics in Serbia. Therefore, examples of good and successful practice in the Guide address particular needs and identification of specific partners and stakeholders in line with the goals of citizen science projects within the STAR Center. Correspondent activities include promotion of citizen science approach and the Guide at conferences dedicated to open science, as well as on the social and local media. For example, the Guide was presented at the international conference Open Science Communication 2022 (OpenSciComm 2022), organized by the Center for the Promotion of Science, in session “Citizen Science: guidelines, quality assessment strategies and exploitation pathways: https://int.cpn.edu.rs/en/open-science-communication2022/#program The Guide is published in open access and distributed under the CC-BY license. It can be translated into other languages.

Who is involved?

The Guide is a result of the effort of six members of STAR Center at Faculty of Philosophy in Novi Sad who written the Guide and share their experience and examples of good practice in citizen science projects. The Guide is created within the GENIUS project (#7744418, http://star.ff.uns.ac.rs/genius/index.php) funded by the Science Funds of the Republic of Serbia. The guide is intended for everyone who wants to implement a citizen science project, i.e., researchers, members of the nongovernmental and civil society organisations, policy makers, stakeholders, citizen scientists, etc. Therefore, everyone could use it to plan new research, collecting the data, or solve some problems in the community. In the Guide the authors explained how to identify partners and stakeholders and all other individuals and organisations which would be interested in results, beyond project team members. It is important to highlight that in order to participate in citizen science projects, no prior knowledge about methodologies, open science or any particular scientific filed is required.

Can this good practice be replicated?

There are no sources needed or costs related to this project, since the Guide is distributed under the CCBY license. However, the translation of the Guide would need some additional financial costs, but they should not be very high, since the Guide contains only 37 pages to be translated. Dinić, B., Sadiković, S., Oljača, M., Milovanović, I. & Smederevac, S. (2022). Vodič za građansku nauku [Citizen Science GuIde]. Novi Sad, RS: Filozofski fakultet.

Further links:

Relevant RRI keys: Public Engagement (for R&I), Science Education, Open Access, Open Science, Open Data Type of practice: Publications/promotional material, Strategic & action planning, Participation public policy/researchers/studies, Support services (e.g. for internationalization, innovation support, research support)

Target groups: researchers (starting from PhD-candidates, on the individual level), universities, research performing organisations, research and innovation funding organisations, students (up to Master level), the general public, person on the street, non-governmental and civil society organisations, policy makers, government officials, technology developers


Geographical focus
  • General/no specific focus
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by POLICY ANSWERS Project support on January 11, 2023
Modified on January 11, 2023