Aligning Form to Purpose: Meaningful Public Engagement From the Open Science Perspective
- 1. Rathenau Instituut, Netherlands
Open Science is an attempt to make science contribute more to tackling major societal challenges. To achieve this grand ambition, public stakeholders and citizens should be involved with science in a meaningful way. We have examined 1) when public engagement can be considered meaningful and, 2) how it can be organised.
Although there is not one optimal way to involve the public meaningfully, this does not mean that any public engagement is by definition meaningful. Our research culminates in the position that public involvement is meaningful when the (power) relationship between knowledge producers and stakeholders changes in favour of the latter. This means that for public engagement to be meaningful, its form must fit well with its aim; the purpose of engaging the public suggests who should be engaged, where, when, and how. Additionally, we present five directives to help policymakers and researchers design processes of meaningful public engagement.