Dolores Mumelaš

National and University Library in Zagreb

Why is Citizen Science important for libraries? The experience of the National and University Library in Zagreb

Dolores Mumelaš, Alisa Martek

15 September 2023
Session 5 ‣ Research integrity, assessment and social impact
9:30 – 11:15

Citizen science, as a part of open science, is important for its participants – citizen scientists and professional scientists who engage in collaborative scientific research (Booney et al., 2009). However, the benefits that organizers of citizen science have are rarely emphasized. These organizers can include governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, corporations, universities (Walker et al., 2016), as well as institutions such as libraries. Citizen science is important for libraries because it increases civic and research interests, scientific publishing, and scientific progress (Trouille, Lintott, and Fortson, 2019). Additionally, it helps libraries attract new users, increase social cohesion, and improve the perception of the library’s social value (Cigarini et al., 2021). With the help of citizen science, libraries can enrich their collections and make them more accessible (Ignat et al., 2018), and librarians can develop new competencies.

The presentation aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the specific ways in which citizen science can benefit libraries and how libraries can effectively utilize citizen science to achieve their goals. In the first part of the presentation, a review of the literature on the topic will be offered. Therefore, the benefits of citizen science for libraries will be discussed in detail, with examples and practical insights provided to illustrate their potential impact. The second part of  presentation will include an analysis of the National and University Library in Zagreb’s experience with carrying out citizen science activities and the advantages this institution had for the education of librarians. Four citizen science activities organized by National and University Library in Zagreb will be presented. An analysis will be conducted based on the showcased activities, utilizing the collection of quantitative data, including the number of participants, the quantity of partnerships established within and outside the institution, online and media coverage of the activities, and more.

 It will highlight the essential role of libraries as implementers of citizen science activities and the impact of such activities on the positioning of libraries in local society and the scientific community.