Published April 3, 2020 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Citizen Science in the Social Sciences and Humanities

  • 1. Office of the Ombudsperson for Academic Ethics and Procedures, Lithuania
  • 2. Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
  • 3. Research Department Museum and Society, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Germany
  • 4. Centre for Translation Studies, University of Vienna, Austria
  • 5. Environmental Education Lab, School of Philosophy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
  • 6. Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia
  • 7. Institute of New Imaging Technologies, University Jaume I, Spain
  • 8. Environmental Social Science Research Group – ESSRG, Hungary
  • 9. Institute for Environmental Solutions, Latvia


The aim of the study was to develop a more integrated understanding of the extent and ways the social sciences and humanities (SSH) are represented and dealt with in current citizen science (CS) practice. To achieve this, a meta-synthesis methodology was adopted to identify and examine all related cases reported in the research literature. 

Five research questions were formulated as follows:

1) What methodological approaches and roles of citizens are used by CS projects and activities claiming to pertain to SSH?

2) What disciplinary fields within SSH do these CS projects encompass and what do diverse interdisciplinary synergies piece together?

3) What are the SSH topics that have engrossed or attracted most of the interest in CS practice so far?

4) What purposes are defined to incorporate SSH in CS projects? and

5) What are the benefits of citizen-generated data? 

To select relevant papers two of the largest databases were opted: a) Clarivate Analytics Core Collection (Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Conference Proceeding Citation Index - Science Edition & Social Science & Humanities Edition), and b) EBSCOhost research databases.

A combination of two keywords only was used as subject terms/topics (e.g. citizen science AND social sciences > TS=(citizen AND science) AND TS=(natural AND sciences)).

Search results were retrieved twice, in October 2018 and in January 2019. At the pre-identification stage, 2763 records were retrieved. At the identification stage, 1244 full-text papers were included in the sample. At the screening stage, 344 full-text papers in English, Spanish and French were identified and submitted to a preliminary meta-synthesis. In total, 62 papers were selected for being relevant and providing most of the data needed.


This dataset is based upon work from COST Action CA 15212 Citizen Science to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology).


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