The San Diego Citizen Science Network (SDCSN) is a unique and innovative approach to building a regional collaboration that supports Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR). It serves the needs of multiple stakeholders by providing a spectrum of “entry points” into citizen science, and facilitates collaboration by identifying and leveraging existing and potential resources for the region. The San Diego Citizen Science Network was founded in 2012 and is organized by Shelley Glenn Lee, Anne Fege (San Diego Children and Nature Network), MaryAnn Hawke (UCSD/SIO), James Danoff-Burg (San Diego Zoo Global), Meredith Houle Vaughan (San Diego State University).
Citizen Science is, by nature, a collaborative endeavor that brings together professionals and amateurs in the pursuit of collecting, analyzing, and understanding scientific data. It can help build a sense of community, contribute meaningful data across time and over large geographical regions, and play a critical role in increasing the scientific literacy of the nation. Recently, there has been much activity related to professionalizing citizen science as it fits into the larger field of Public Participation in Scientific Research (PPSR). Efforts are underway to formalize PPSR as a field of study and practice, including the formation of an organizational structure that would include a professional association, regional networks, a journal, and annual or biannual meetings. San Diego County is the first to organize a regional network in direct response to these efforts, and will serve as a model for other regions moving toward the broader, national goals of PPSR.