Whether through grassroots action or technology-mediated crowdsourcing, there has been a rapid increase in public participation in scientific research (citizen science, volunteer monitoring, Pro-Am partnerships, community-based research and more).
The success of these initiatives takes dedication not just from volunteers, but from organizers, educators, scientists, data managers, technology specialists, evaluators, and others. Practitioners (paid or unpaid) work to design, support, and implement projects, manage and use data, and evaluate and research individual initiatives or the practice itself.
We can speed innovation by sharing insights, across all fields of study, among peers who support these initiatives. A 2012 PPSR Conference in Portland, Oregon, engaged over 300 practitioners to share talks and posters. The conference also launched, with overwhelming support, the idea of developing an Association to advance a global and cross-disciplinary community of practice (download a brief summary report).
Although still at an early state of development, the Association already has forward-thinking goals. An interim Steering Committee has also drafted vision and mission statements for the Association, to be voted upon by Association members.
Association membership is now available. At this time there is no cost for membership. Inaugural members have the opportunity to shape the development of the Association by voting on key decisions about direction, priorities, and leadership.
For members and non-members alike, the field also has two listservs, one for receiving news and announcements, and a discussion listserv for sharing questions, innovations, and announcements among peers in this field. And, all are welcome to comment on plans for building the association.