An increasingly sophisticated public, rapid changes in monitoring technology, the ability to process large volumes of data, and social media are increasing the capacity for members of the public and advocacy groups to gather, interpret, and exchange environmental data. This development has the potential to alter the government-centric approach to environmental governance; however, citizen science has had a mixed record in influencing government decisions and actions. This Article reviews the rapid changes that are going on in the field of citizen science and examines what makes citizen science initiatives impactful, as well as the barriers to greater impact. It reports on 10 case studies, and evaluates these to provide findings about the state of citizen science and recommendations on what might be done to increase its influence on environmental decisionmaking.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-44; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-44
Wyeth, George and Paddock, LeRoy C and Parker, Alison and Glicksman, Robert L. and Williams, Jecoliah, The Impact of Citizen Environmental Science in the United States (March 1, 2019). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 49, No. 3, 2019; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-44; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-44. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3344638