Expanding Expertise in Communication Science Through Public and Citizen Science

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Contribution to Books

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Scientific expertise is often seen as the purview of the makers of Western scientific knowledge: the professionals in labs and in the field who hold academic credentials. However, scientific practitioners can and should recognize and incorporate expertise and knowledge from those outside this realm, such as Indigenous traditions and experiential knowledge, which is what citizen science or public science works toward. This chapter examines the nature of citizen science and public science and what it means for the creation and communication of scientific knowledge. Public science acknowledges that the Public Appreciation of Science and Technology (PAST) model, which emphasizes one-way communication between scientific experts and the general public, does not allow for dynamic engagement of the public in scientific enterprises. However, the Critical Understanding of Science in Public (CUSP) model provides a framework for civic engagement and a more democratic society through scientific knowledge production. If science communication not only aims to transmit knowledge but also contribute to a just, democratic society and a critical, educated public, it must acknowledge the essential roles of citizen scientists and public science. Thus this chapter takes up the possibilities for science to account for a broader understanding of public engagement, scientific expertise, and what it means to communicate science.