Citizen Science Association Experiments With Free Membership

A new association established to advance the scientific community has removed one barrier to entry: its membership fee.

Fox’s reimagining of the classic series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey,” which premiered Sunday night on several Fox networks, is putting science back in the pop culture spotlight this week. For the association-minded and scientifically inclined, there’s a new group taking off that may be a perfect fit.

The Citizen Science Association (CSA) is just getting the ball rolling, and to help build momentum, it has made early membership free. Thanks to support from organizations ranging from the National Geographic Society to the Woodrow Wilson Center, the association can offer its inaugural members no-fee entry as it sets out to fulfill its mission to promote and cultivate a more widespread appreciation for citizen science, or scientific study conducted collaboratively among scientists and nonscientists.

“Whether organizers are scientists, educators, data managers, technology specialists, evaluators, or enthusiastic volunteers, the CSA welcomes those who want to benefit from a network based on the diverse practices of citizen science,” the association said in a statement.

CSA is still in its formative stages, but it has identified six organizational goals:

  • Establish a global community of practice for citizen science
  • Advance the field of citizen science through innovation and collaboration
  • Promote the value and impact of citizen science
  • Provide access to tools and resources that further best practice
  • Support communication and professional development services
  • Foster diversity and inclusion within the field

CSA is already accepting submissions for its journal, which will be published with open access at a yet-to-be-determined date. The free inaugural memberships will allow members who join before March 15 to vote on draft vision and mission statements.

CSA, and “Cosmos” to a degree, are working to make the scientific community more inclusive at a time when nearly half of respondents in a recent Pew Research Center poll said they believe that schools should be placing more emphasis on “STEM” subjects, including math, science and computer science.

“Cosmos” has just 12 episodes remaining before its run is finished this season, but things are only beginning for CSA.

Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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