A year of citizen science in pandemics


Despite the limitations that have marked life throughout 2021, the ScienceFlows team has managed to meet the challenge of advancing citizen and co-creative science research. This has been a year in which we have also closed the CONCISE and PERSIST projects and welcomed NoSUM, CIVIC and Iberifier.

January 2021 began marked by the closing seminars of the CONCISE project where some of the main research findings were presented. However, the large amount of data collected after two years of work has allowed the members of the consortium to continue publishing results. Thus, the monograph Mètode, dedicated to citizen science, included the article Citizen science and science communication. A citizen science approach. Last year, the journal JCOM also published some of the conclusions of the consultations in relation to citizens’ proposals for better communication and involvement in the public perception of climate change. Frontiers, for its part, reported on the 8 SwafS projects on citizen science in the article Taking Stock and Re-Examining the Role of Science Communication, including CONCISE.

The extensive data collection in the five consultations has allowed the CONCISE partners to continue working on new results, proposals and suggestions to improve science communication and the social perception of science. These research results will be published in the coming months.

In addition to CONCISE, 2021 has also been the year in which the PERSIST project has been closed, having succeeded in developing a platform to assess the change in knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs after participating in a scientific activity. The platform, which is available for free, was tested by 300 students in 6 European countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Slovakia and Poland). In addition, some of the findings of the project have been published in the book Standard Indicators for the Social Appropriation of Science and presented at the PCST conference in Aberdeen.

 The extensive data collection in the five consultations has allowed the CONCISE partners to continue working on new results, proposals and suggestions to improve science communication and the social perception of science

Ongoing projects

In the framework of the NoRumourHealth project, ScienceFlows has worked throughout the year on the development of several tools aimed at enabling older people to defend themselves against health hoaxes, misinformation and its consequences. The project has actively involved more than 100 people over the age of 60 years who, through their participation in workshops, have contributed to the development of an app and a learning platform. The app allows older people with limited digital skills to verify the reliability of some health hoaxes. The learning platform helps people to learn how to detect hoaxes and develop skills to verify their validity.

For its part, the ESMODA-ECO project, which will end in December, has continued to delve into the analysis of the discourse on nutrition in the press. Specifically, ScienceFlows researchers have studied nutrition in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the one hand, the study Analysis of the press discourse on nutrition in times of Covid-19 was presented in the Profesional de la Información. It has also been presented “Between the role of dietary intervention based on scientific evidence and the dissemination via WhatsApp of hoaxes related to superfoods: A descriptive study on the top 100 ‘magic ingredients‘ with healing powers for COVID-19″ at the Science&You congress held in Florence.

New research projects 

ScienceFlows has joined the IBERIFIER network in 2021, which aims at developing a media observatory to fight disinformation in Spain and Portugal. IBERIFIER is one of eight regional nodes in Europe in the framework of the Digital Media Observatory.

It has also been a year in which the NoSUM research project in which ScienceFlows participates has launched workshops in multiple Spanish cities to launch the test phase of the GhB detection kit in beverages. The aim of the project is, on the one hand, to test the effectiveness of the kit in real environments and, on the other hand, to raise awareness of the problem of chemical submission among university students. 

Despite the constraints of the pandemic, more than 200 students from 6 universities have participated in the two editions of the workshops, the first in summer and the second in autumn 2021. The project has now entered the third phase, in which the samples sent by the participants will be collected for analysis.

On the other hand, the project FIT FORTHEM in which ScienceFlows also works, has continued to deepen international university cooperation. 

New FPU research fellow de ScienceFlows

,Paula von Polheim has joined the research group as FPU researcher. Her research line is focused in Anglo-Hispanic communication of superfoods via TikTok and Instagram, which is part of the ESMODA-ECO National Project.