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We are looking for a PhD candidate to join us at the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) in Paris. We are searching for individuals with a strong interest in citizen science or community science who are keen to explore how digitally mediated interactions can lead to new forms of interactions and empower individuals. The ideal candidate has a background in the natural or social sciences and brings some prior experience in community building or working on citizen science/open projects (e.g. open source, Wikipedia etc.). Furthermore, they thrive in interdisciplinary environments, like to interact with diverse peers, comfortably mix disciplines and wish to explore uncharted domains. The position is funded for 3 years and can be pursued through the FIRE Doctoral School.

Interested candidates should submit a brief CV and motivation letter to bgreshake@googlemail.com so that we can discuss the project and further application procedures.

Project Details: From top-down to bottom-up: Peer production as a means to citizen science throughout the research cycle.

In typical Citizen/Community Science efforts, volunteer involvement is limited to data collection or processing, with little evidence that individual participants are empowerment or benefit from an improved understanding of science. Furthermore, the limited involvement of participants results in concerning power asymmetries – especially in health and human subjects research. Mechanism of commons-based peer production and its key characteristics (sharing, intrinsic positive motivation, openness, collaboration, bottom-up innovation, community accountability) are known to facilitate equitable and effective ways of production, e.g. in Wikipedia, Open Street Map and Open Source at large.

In this project we will investigate if and how the principles of commons-based peer production can be utilized to enable better participant involvement across the research cycle in citizen science projects. To that end, we will collect qualitative and quantitative data on how a variety of existing citizen science efforts use peer production characteristics in their design. Analyzing these data will enable us to learn how peer-production methods affect learning and empowerment outcomes for volunteer participants. Based on those results we will model an intervention in which we will implement successful peer production characteristics in citizen science communities and study whether this leads to an improvement in participant outcomes.

Due to its nature, the project is highly collaborative, decentralized and interdisciplinary. It involves understanding and working closely with a diverse group of citizen science communities across scientific disciplines, with a focus on the biological & natural sciences. It also involves research into the governance models of citizen science & commons-based peer production, relying on science, technology and society studies. Furthermore, for the collection and analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data methods of both the social sciences as well as statistics/data sciences will be employed.

A more detailed description of the research proposal is available.

About the Employer

The Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (CRI) experiments and spreads new ways of learning, teaching, conducting research and mobilizing collective intelligence in life, learning and digital sciences. The core mission of the CRI is to transform the way to research and acquire, share and co-create knowledge across the life, learning, and digital sciences. We are building a research collaboratory – up to 60 scientists, postdocs, PhD/master students working closely together on diverse but mutually complementary range of topics. We are guided by UN Sustainable Development Goals towards high-impact work on specific topic combining biomedicine, natural sciences, education, and digital transformation.

The CRI was founded in 2005 by François Taddei and Ariel Lindner.

The Bettencourt Schueller Foundation has been an essential and key supporting partner since the CRI was created.

The CRI develops educational programs together with the Sorbonne Paris Cité University (Paris Descartes University and Paris Diderot University). A wide range of partners accompany the CRI including the European fund, “Les programmes d’Investissements d’Avenir” and the town council of Paris.

More info: https://research.cri-paris.org.

Contact Details

Bastian Greshake Tzovaras

email: bgreshake@googlemail.com

phone: +1 (510) 944 4298

web: https://tzovar.as

twitter: @gedankenstuecke