Citizen Science


Citizen science is a form of public participation in science projects whereby citizens are involved in various stages of the scientific research process. Other terms are crowd science, crowd-sourced science, civic science, or networked science. The data collection phase of a research project is where citizens are usually most intensively involved in such project (see projects in astronomy or ornithology), but it can also go a few steps further whereby the interaction, the dialogue between the scientist and the citizen helps to form and (re)shape new research questions.


Most citizen science projects are set-up in the beta-disciplines but our team envisages to further citizen involvement in science among the humanities in particular and we experiment with various methods to do this. With our research team we both collect data and shape research in dialogue with citizens – both as individuals and via stakeholder groups –- on various themes, and in most of the projects we involve students so that future generations of scientists and practitioners can learn more about the possibilities of involving citizens in science.


Our crowdsourcing project 'Ja, ik wil!' [Yes, I Do!] has been recognized by the EOS journal (in cooperation with the Flemish Jonge Academie and Scientific American) as a good example of Citizen Science. On their platform website, EOS offers an overview of this and other examples of Citizen Science.


Our citizen science projects


Yes, I do!-project


With this project we digitize together with volunteers the complete Amsterdam pre-marriage acts, consisting of approx. 900,000 individuals who intended to get married in the period 1578-1811. When this project is finished, a huge amount of data on early modern marriage practices and many related issues will be available for further study.


Genealogy for science


For our interdisciplinary 'Nature or Nurture'-project we need to understand the influence of demographic elements such as marriage age and fertility from one generation on the other, and this to find out more about issues such as life expectancy in the early modern period. Genealogists collect data about their ancestors and have already done a great effort in bringing the much needed information together. Together with organisations such as the Central Bureau for Genealogy and we try to convince genealogists to deliver their data to us so that it can be used for scientific research. 


Think tank on collective action in care, welfare and living


Together with other researchers, representatives from new care cooperatives, policy makers, consultants, and other stakeholders we encourage the dialogue among the “sides” involved in the current institutional developments in the Netherlands. This dialogue helps shaping our approach and the future research agenda in this field.


Internship project on collective action


Master students are involved in researching the current changes in governance models in the Netherlands by acting as ‘go-betweens’ between the researchers of our team, the organizations where they are interns and the local, new institutions for action across the country. This interaction creates a constant dialogue between citizens who take part in the new institutions for collective action and the academic researchers.


International Association for the Study of the Commons


As active, institutional members of the IASC we envisage close cooperation with practitioners of the commons worldwide in order to transfer “practical” knowledge, often based on centuries of experience, from commons elsewhere in the world to the “body of knowledge” that has been formed on historical and present-day experience on the use and management of common-pool resources in western European countries, where most of the “original” commons have been abolished during the nineteenth century.



For more info on citizen science, see: