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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Recent contributions of Citizen Science on sustainability policies: a critical review

Criscuolo, Laura; L'Astorina, Alba; Van Der Wal, René; Colucci Gray, Laura


Citizen science (CS) is often used to describe collaborations between researchers and non-professional volunteers who help with data collection and other research tasks, such as species identification, data annotation, and classification. Other definitions refer to citizens producing their own evidence to influence policy and raise community awareness, including participatory projects where citizen scientists contribute to defining the focus, co-design, or run an entire research project. This integrative review provides a critical appraisal of both empirical studies and theoretical perspectives on CS in emerging research related to environment and health policies, with a particular emphasis on sustainability. The analysis points to the need for greater awareness of CS methodology in order to redress the relations between scientific research and policy-making, considering local communities’ knowledge and values as pivotal to shaping future sustainability policy agendas, in ways that are both more comprehensive and sensitive to changing contexts and specific needs.


Citizen science; Sustainability; Policy-making; SDGs; Participatory research; Top-down/bottom-up approach

Published in

Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health
2023, Volume: 31, article number: 100423

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