Acknowledging citizens’ contributions through CO-AUTHORSHIP
Throughout the project duration
Citizens play a crucial role in citizen-science research projects and this needs to be acknowledged widely, including in the resulting publications.
To provide due credit to all contributors, also those who are not professional scientists should be indicated as co-authors of the scientific peer-reviewed publications. Prior to that, the PI or a team member should inform them of the implications in terms of responsibility and accountability and make sure they understand and agree. Conflicts can arise relative to who is entitled to be considered a full title contributor. The issue must be discussed collectively beforehand, weighting the contributions provided by those involved, taking into account legitimate differences in opinions and interests, and envisaging appropriate procedures for avoiding dead-end situations.
Citizens as co-authors of a scientific poster
Project:CitieS-Health Lucca Pilot
Promoters:Epidemiologia & Prevenzione
It was agreed that the 2019 Conference of the Italian Association of Epidemiology (XLIII Convegno AIE) was an appropriate venue to present a poster on the Lucca pilot study. Several meetings took place between researchers and citizens, in particular members of local associations, to prepare an abstract and discuss authorship. Following the abstract acceptance, new meetings were held to finalise the content of the poster, which was presented at the conference focusing on the study objectives, design and the expected results. Two non-professional researchers were included as co-authors together with eight researchers.
Due credit is to be given to all those that play an active role in research, be them professional scientists or not. This also implies that all those involved must understand and accept that responsibility and accountability are connected with research work in all its stages, including publication of results.
Open meetings. Several open meetings were held among researchers and citizens in order to define the contents of the abstract, and provide a further opportunity to reflect on the research objectives, methods, and expected results. These were described in the poster, together with information on the study area, the involved partners, and the health profile of the study population under investigation.
Abstract acceptance and presentation. The abstract was accepted and displayed as a poster. The conference was held in Catania (Sicily) from 23 to 25 October 2019. Two lay-citizens and eight researchers were listed as co-authors.