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Paper: Citizen Science in Astronomy and Language Diversity: Findings from Zooniverse
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 23
Authors: Desjardins, R.; Pahud, D.; Doerksen, N.; Laczko, M.
Abstract: We present the results of a two-year project, which examines the presence of multilingualism and translation on citizen science platforms. Such platforms are used for research and outreach and are generally viewed as more accessible than typical academic routes to knowledge and hence more inclusive. With linguistic diversity in mind, we have collected data from two predominant citizen science platforms, Zooniverse and the Canadian Citizen Science Portal, using a transdisciplinary mixed-methods approach. Here, we will focus more specifically on the projects in, and related to, astronomy. By comparing the platforms, we examine whether project building guidelines and [Canadian] official language policy have an effect on language diversity and, by extension, linguistic justice. Our results show that English continues to hold a place of privilege as the language of scientific creation and dissemination. Though this result may not be groundbreaking, it is important to consider the implications this has for the dissemination of astronomy research, particularly in online spaces that are conceived as transnational in reach and more “democratic” than other offline arenas. Our work suggests potential directions that could foster more language diversity. Our findings can also serve as a basis for citizen scientists and researchers to consider multilingualism and translation as a value-added to the research process rather than as barriers to research success. This case study will engage researchers at all career stages interested in disseminating their findings across linguistic and disciplinary divides. We contend intercultural dialogue and interlinguistic contributions in citizen science help foster a plurality of research traditions and worldviews. Further, our research team's composition includes researchers from STEM and the Social Sciences and Humanities, thus illustrating the fruitful dialogue that can take place across disciplines.
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