The Many Faces of Participation in Science

Literature Review and Proposal for a Three-Dimensional Framework

  • Philipp Schrögel Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Alma Kolleck Museum für Naturkunde Berlin


Participatory and dialogic formats are the current trend in scientific communities across all disciplines, with movements such as Public Participation, citizen science, Do-It-Yourself-Science, Public Science and many more. While these formats and the names and definitions given to them, are prospering and diversifying, there is no integrative tool to describe and compare different participatory approaches. In particular, several theories and models on participatory science governance and citizen science have been developed but these theories are poorly linked. A review of existing typologies and frameworks in the field reveals that there is no single descriptive framework that covers the normative, epistemological and structural differences within the field while being open enough to describe the great variety of participatory research. We propose a three-dimensional framework, the participatory science cube, which bridges this gap. We discuss the framework’s openness for different forms of participation as well as potential shortcomings and illustrate its application by analysing four case studies.