Perceptions of engineering researchers towards citizen science

a case study at a university of technology

  • Karien du Bruyn Vaal University of Technology


Societal demands and challenges are increasingly shaping academics’ research endeavours. Citizen Science (CS) is a developing concept that constitutes a fundamental shift towards alternative ways of knowledge creation by including audiences beyond academia. The applied nature of the engineering discipline and subsequent opportunities to involve citizens in knowledge-creation processes are of particular importance in this paper. A qualitative case study in the Faculty of Engineering at a selected University of Technology in South Africa explored the roles of academic libraries in engineering CS initiatives. Nine full or associate professorship engineers participated in in-depth interviews. The results indicated great enthusiasm and aspirations among engineering researchers to contribute to societal needs in support of Sustainable Development Goals. As CS projects’ development proliferates in academic institutions, the roles of academic libraries could increasingly become prominent and favour creative input during knowledge-creation practices. The findings provide valuable guidelines for academic libraries during engineering CS projects’ planning and execution and demonstrate how a multidisciplinary approach can accelerate implementation.


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