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Berit Elisabeth Alving


University Library of Southern Denmark


Introduction and aim

Citizen Science is an integrated part of Open Science. The University Library of Southern Denmark (ULSD) is partner, in collaboration with the Region of Southern Denmark, five region hospitals and two media houses, in the Citizen Science project “A Healthier Southern Denmark”. [1] The project involves the citizens suggesting themes for health projects and voting for the allocation for funding. In connection ULSD in 2019 established a high school panel, in collaboration with two high schools and consisted of 86 students (age 16-19). The aims where: 1. Is it possible for a university library to engage high school students in Citizen Science health projects?  2. To combine Citizen Science in theory and practice and make them contribute as „young fellow researchers”.


To meet aim no. 1, relational competences and network management was necessary, as several partners where involved. To meet aim no. 2, the students were presented on theory on the health sector and research designs for user-involved studies. They had introductions on Citizen Science, innovation and source criticism. Eventually the students participated in “Open Research Day” and interviewed the researchers from the main project. Many students collected data by interviews and questionnaires on citizens and health employees. The theory, their data collection, and an USLD Libguide [2] enabled the students in producing a conference poster with a presentation. It was a competition with a jury and peer to peer voting. The panel was evaluated by questionnaires and the teachers involved where interviewed.


Due to the professional collaboration and networking, a level of innovation on health Citizen Science was achieved by the involving employees from the university library. In accordance USLD became co-creators in Open Science. Results from the questionnaires showed that the students were interested in social and health policy issues and found citizen science an instructive way to involve citizens. On a scale from 1 to 5 (1 low and 5 very high) the students rated “citizen science strengthens the health research” 4,1, and “citizen science is a beneficial bridge between scientists and citizens” 4,5. The teachers valued the theoretical introductions and the engagement of the students.  

Conclusion and discussion

USLD sees projects like the high school panel as future core task: to make students acquainted with topics within Open Science and being digital skilled, gather knowledge, collect data, and being critical to all sources. The project indicated that it’s possible for a university library to manage a network with several partners while also focusing on high schools’ students learning outcome. The students managed, to some level, to contribute as fellow researchers and became engaged in citizen science. Thus, USLD sees a potential for expanding this kind of citizen science. The project will be repeated in a revised edition in 2020.


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