VA’s citizen science project wins Open Knowledge award

VA’s citizen science project, the Notice Board mass experiment, has won an Open Knowledge award for the Best Open Science Initiative. The Open Knowledge Awards have been launched by the non-profit organisation Open Knowledge Sweden and were awarded for the first time in a ceremony at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm on 2 December.

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Caption for photo: Fredrik Brounéus, Project Manager at VA (Public & Science) receiving the award from Dr Terrence Brown, a member of the judging panel. Photograph: Josefine Mattsson.

“We are really pleased that the Notice Board Experiment has been recognised in this way. Bringing researchers and pupils together to create new knowledge and share experiences in this way is a win-win situation,” said Fredrik Brounéus, Project Manager for the Notice Board Experiment, who received the award together with the researcher leading the project, Christopher Kullenberg.

In the Notice Board mass experiment, pupils have been helping researchers to document the contents of physical notice boards across the whole of Sweden. In late September, over 3000 pupils went out to photograph and document the contents of notice boards in their local area, using a specially-designed app. Teachers were also provided with a teacher’s guide describing the objective of the project and how the data would be used.

The researchers are currently going through the written material and photographs that were submitted by the pupils. This includes everything from small hand-written notes to large posters.

“As soon as we have reviewed the data, it will be made freely available, with the exception of people’s names and telephone numbers, which we will anonymise. As a result, anyone will be able to use the material for further research, as well as for teaching or for other purposes,” said Christopher Kullenberg, who is a researcher in the theory of science at the University of Gothenburg.

Awards were presented during the evening for other categories, including Best Transparency InitiativeBest Business Initiative and Best Data Journalism Award.

“In addition to the prizes to recognise the work of the winners, we hope that the Open Knowledge Awards will lead to more collaborations that seek to create a more open society through innovation and transparency,” said Asmen Gül, Project Manager for the Open Knowledge Awards.

Open Knowledge Sweden is a non-profit association that is part of the global Open Knowledge International network. The association seeks to stimulate and strengthen various aspects of open knowledge both nationally and internationally.


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