Citizen science and social licence: Improving perceptions and connecting marine user groups

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 12:54pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 08/2019
Authors: Rachel Kelly, Aysha Fleming, Gretta Pecl
Journal title: Ocean & Coastal Management
Volume: 178
Pages: 104855
ISSN: 09645691

Marine stakeholder groups have diverse relationships with the ocean and life within it, which can create conflict and distrust between them. Citizen science and social licence present promising means to develop dialogue between these diverse marine stakeholders and improve outcomes for marine management. Citizen science can be defined as public engagement in scientific research and activities and amongst other benefits, has been demonstrated to improve communication and relationships amongst resource management and stakeholder groups. Social licence is a concept that reflects unwritten permission from the public for others to use and manage natural resources, and has become an important theme for development in the marine realm. We explore a case-study of the marine citizen science programme Redmap Australia, utilising a mixed-methods approach to understand community perceptions of other marine user groups. We explore how marine users legitimise one another, and how this relates to building relationships and developing social licence. Our results show that participation in citizen science can allow users to display their marine citizenship and shared concern about the marine environment, and that this can allow them to earn trust from other user groups. We conclude that participation in citizen science improves perceptions of trustworthiness and can enhance social licence for marine user groups, with positive implications for marine and coastal management. These outcomes provide fruitful insights on marine resource user groups' perceptions that can help to advise future developments in the growing fields of citizen science practice and citizen science research.

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