Citizen science in the social sciences and humanities: the power of interdisciplinarity

Loreta Tauginienė*, Eglė Butkevičienė, Katrin Vohland, Barbara Heinisch, Maria Daskolia, Monika Suškevičs, Manuel Portela, Bálint Balázs, Baiba Prūse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


Citizen science evolved through multiple disciplinary manifestations into a new field of study and a participatory method of enquiry. While most citizen science projects take place within problem-focused natural sciences, social sciences and humanities help understanding the human dimension and open a broad methodological spectrum for enriching scientific research with new approaches and for boosting public participation. In this paper, we use a meta-synthesis approach to explore how citizen science is practised in the so far less addressed social sciences and humanities by focusing on the role of the citizens, the goals and approaches of the projects, the tasks in which citizens are engaged and their gains across projects of diverse disciplinary background. Our findings indicate that social sciences are gaining more acknowledgment within interdisciplinary citizen science projects by addressing ‘wicked’ problems of human behaviour and agency, while humanities are in quest of a better-defined locus in citizen science. We conclude that social sciences and humanities still face considerable barriers to infiltrate citizen science; the payoffs are substantial and already rewarding for several subfields in social sciences and humanities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
Peer-reviewed scientific journalPalgrave Communications
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 07.05.2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed
EventProject "A Framework in Science and Technology to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe" -
Duration: 21.09.201620.09.2020


  • 512 Business and Management
  • business and management
  • environmental studies
  • geography
  • science, technology and society
  • sociology
  • 520 Other social sciences
  • Citizen science
  • 616 Other humanities
  • Heritage


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