What future for cooperation in scientific research under the new GDPR?

What future for cooperation in scientific research under the new GDPR?

Few weeks ago the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)[i] entered into force. Apart from introducing new guarantees for privacy and data protection, the Regulation also affects the sharing of research data among researchers (see, for example, the case of health and medical data).[ii] In a scientific and academic environment which tends to encourage cooperation among researchers and co-production of knowledge, the implications of the GDPR for research need to be questioned.

Recently, a trend of improving science and academic practice through a greater sharing of data and findings has expanded, especially at the EU level. This trend is demonstrated by a number of initiatives aimed at stimulating openness of research findings. Within this ‘push’ towards a more reflexive science, the EU Open Data and Open Science programs, enhanced by the EU Horizon 2020 strategy and by the ‘Science with and for Society’ framework, can be situated. A statement launched during the workshop ‘Open Data in Science: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe’ (Brussels, 31 January 2018) summarizes this trend: it is affirmed that ‘publicly funded scientists [should] make their research data available in reusable format in order to enhance the quality and effectiveness of science and as a contribution to help address societal and environmental challenges.’ The availability and openness of research output (but also of meta-data) seems the key to achieving the sought co-production of scientific knowledge. This ultimate aim resonates with the FAIR Principle, also stressed during the workshop: a ‘Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusableresearch is presented as the way forward to ensure verifiability and robustness of science. A change in research culture is welcomed in the closing words of the Statement. The assessment of scientific practice and research should no longer reward ‘closed science’, rather the cooperation among researchers to better find answers to the complex interrogatives of today society should be considered and acknowledged as a value.

A recent example of the EU Open Science’s aims is represented by the ‘European Open Science Cloud’ initiative (EOSC), an EU virtual infrastructure where scientists are invited to share scientific data across disciplinary, social and geographical.[iii] Another noteworthy example is the ‘Open Access’ (OA) policy promoted at the EU level. OA aims at freely providing access to scientific information in a reusable format. The co-production here is brought a step further: not only openness and sharing among researchers, but also inclusion of society in the dissemination of scientific results. This inclusion appears the first step to ensure that civil society actors take a leading role in the co-production of knowledge.

The move towards Open Science at the EU level intersects with the ‘Science and Society’ Action Plan promoted by the European Commission with the aim of better connecting science and EU citizens. This action plan developed into the ‘Science in Society’, underlining the need for public engagement of civil society in science, and recently became ‘Science with and for Society’. In an EU research agenda where science should be devoted to social inclusion and should be placed ‘at the service’ of society, it seems worth to question which research data and scientific results can still be freely made open and shared, under the new GDPR.

A visual representation of networked research centers

The question of the implications of the GDPR for scientific openness derives from the principles underlying the new regulation, namely that of data minimization. In addition, the GDPR provides for more stringent limits for data sharing and data storage. On one side the research exemption inserted within the GDPR (Art. 89 GDPR) seems ensuring that scientific research will be mostly unaffected, however research practices will strongly have to change in order to be aligned with the new provisions. If both Open Science and data protection are goals currently prioritized in the EU agenda, it is opportune to question whether a conflict between the two aims may exist.

What seems worrisome is the possible disincentive that the GDPR will produce on research cooperation. The GDPR indeed mandates for more stringent requirements for data sharing among research units. Researchers in different research centres, for example, in two universities based in two different countries working on the same research project, will be prevented from sending material via mail or other online services, unless a data treatment agreement will be signed among them. Apart from the consequences for research speed, there is the risk that these additional requirements will discourage researchers from collaborating and sharing research findings.

In view of this possible adverse consequences of the GDPR for research cooperation, it will be advisable for European universities to ensure data processing agreements with extra-EU research units, in order to facilitate the sharing of research findings by individual researchers. In addition, accessible procedures and modules should be developed in order to align research practices to the GDPR, without harming the goal of openness. A balance between cooperation in research and data protection will have to be careful established, to the benefit of the research process and of society at large.

[i] EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation), OJ 2016 L 119/1.

[ii] Menno Mostert and others, ‘Big Data In Medical Research And EU Data Protection Law: Challenges To The Consent Or Anonymise Approach’ (2015) 24 European Journal of Human Genetics.

[iii] The Commission High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud. Realising the European Open Science Cloud (Publications Office of the European Union 2016), p.6.

Il presente articolo illustra le possibili conseguenze che il Nuovo Regolamento Europeo per la Protezione dei Dati (GDPR) avrà sulla cooperazione tra ricercatori. La recente tendenza a livello europeo verso una scienza ‘trasparente’ e in costante dialogo con la società viene illustrata attraverso rilevanti esempi, come i programmi ‘Open Science’, ‘Open Access’ e ‘Science with and for Society’ lanciati negli ultimi anni dall’UE. Nonostante tali iniziative, la GDPR sembra suggerire la necessità di ridurre la condivisione di dati tra ricercatori e di coprire tale condivisione con specifici accordi. Ciò potrebbe sostanzialmente disincentivare la collaborazione tra ricercatori, specialmente con unità di ricerca al di fuori del territorio UE. La necessita di bilanciare le esigenze di protezione dei dati con quelle di una scienza ‘accessibile’ risulta evidente.

Citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making: the EU Joint Research Center Perspective

Citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making: the EU Joint Research Center Perspective

The idea of proactive citizen engagement in Science and Policy-Making has recently attracted the institutional interest at the European Union level. In particular, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has often dealt with the topic in recent years. Worth to be quoted is the JRC Science for Policy Report “Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making” released in 2016 [1]. The report shows an open and welcoming approach from the Commission towards citizen-driven contributions to science and policy. The JRC explicitly affirms (JRC, 2016, 3) that citizen engagement in heavily ‘expert-based’ sectors can “boost in democratic legitimacy, accountability and transparent governance”. Furthermore, the JRC acknowledges the potential of citizen involvement for enhancing “trust building among citizens and institutions as well as ownership of policy outcome. The Centre recognizes a shift from the mere “info-giving” to increasingly participatory deliberation practices “at each stage of the policy-making process” (JRC, 2016, 3) and, even more relevant, a push from “asking the citizens” to “co-creating with citizens” (JRC, 2016, 32).

Apart from increasing legitimacy and trust, the JRC stresses the benefits for the EC’s strategic planning itself, by underlining that people’s inputs “can offer a unique understanding of societal concerns, desires and needs” and thus a better targeting of EC’s actions. Moreover, the value of this contribution is identified in the provision by citizens of “evidence for policy-making and evaluation of policy decisions” as well as “ideas for new policies or services.”

The JRC in its report (JRC, 2016, 4) identifies also the main challenges to a proper inclusion of inputs from laymen’s knowledge in science and policy. First, the Centre stresses how the “predominant paradigm for policy-making is based on expert inputs (evidence based) in detriment of non-expert or lay knowledge coming from other parts of society.” The advice from the JRC to the Commission seems encouraging for more participatory practice and for a reconsideration of the “usefulness and validity of non-traditional inputs coming from citizens, communities or other groups”.

However, data quality and reliability of the knowledge fed by the lay people when it comes to inclusive science and policy seems crucial, together with transparency and disclosure of possible conflicts of interests. The modalities for gathering laymen’s input should be clearly defined and integration strategies properly agreed. Lastly, the need to go “beyond usual suspects” (the tech-connected wealthy citizens) in this inclusive science and policy is underlined by the report. At p.9 of the document (JRC, 2016, 9) a series of practical examples of citizen engagement in EU’s policy and science are illustrated, such as the initiatives ‘MakingSense’, ‘MyGEOSS’ and ‘DigitalEarthLab’.

The call of the JRC for a “dialogue across co-existing worldviews and knowledge production spaces in science, society and policy” (JRC, 2016, 7) seems particularly timely in present times in which the need of a dialogue between top and bottom stakeholders seems increasingly urgent. Facing Science and Policy-Making challenges through an inclusive and open-minded approach would contribute to the establishment of this dialogue. In the end, both top and bottom players share common interests or, at least, can constructively face each other’s needs to reach together a compromise, towards the establishment of a shared interest. In cases of post-normal science problems, the achievement of this shared or common interest will be even harder. However, those problems are highly of public interest and demand for the inclusion of all the concerned stakeholders in their governance.

[1] Figueiredo Nascimento, S., Cuccillato, E., Schade, S., Guimarães Pereira, A. 2016. Citizen Engagement in Science and Policy-Making. EUR 28328 EN, doi: 10.2788/40563.

Il presente articolo illustra la crescente necessità di coinvolgere il cittadino nei processi politici e scientifici, come percepita dalle istituzioni a livello europeo. In particolare, l’articolo focalizza l’attenzione sulla prospettiva del Joint Research Center (JRC) dell’Unione Europea sul tema. Viene illustrata la posizione del JRC, il quale incoraggia la creazione di un dialogo condiviso nell’interazione tra scienza, società e politica. Tale appello sembra di particolare attualità oggigiorno, in considerazione della complessità dei problemi che la nostra società deve affrontare. In effetti, le sfide odierne spesso riguardano interessi comuni a più attori sociali, ed il compromesso tra loro, come anche il reciproco ascolto, sembrano gli unici mezzi per raggiungere una definizione di “interesse comune”.

The potential of collective drones’ monitoring for Indigenous communities at risk

The potential of collective drones’ monitoring for Indigenous communities at risk

Nowadays, we are experiencing a sharp and progressive decrease of oil and gas prices.[i] Nevertheless, irresponsible and only profit-driven extractive activities continue to expand and to impose their toxic footprint on the environment and the society. The extent to which these practices conflict with the sustainability goals stated at the international level is significant. Furthermore, initiatives from state authorities and international organizations often disregard local impacts on marginalized communities, which are frequently the most exposed to extractive exploitation. From the imperative of involving communities in making companies accountable for their bad practices, arose the idea of applying advanced technologies for enabling communities to detect environmental hazards, and safely spread alerts. [ii]

When discussing bottom-up monitoring, the case of Indigenous communities living in rural and remote areas must be made. These communities indeed are particularly threatened[iii] by expanding hydrocarbon and mining industries. In this context, environmental liabilities generated by extraction practices continue to create adverse environmental and public health impacts. As a response to this challenge, a series of ongoing initiatives have been launched by Digital Democracy, an US-based organization working at the intersection of human rights and technology with marginalized communities around the world.

It seems particularly worth of attention the approach that the organization adopted, as based on three steps. First, in the ‘Direct Implementation’ stage, the community training aimed at capacity building is carried out. Subsequently, the ‘Tool Building’ stage intervenes with the aim of co-creating technological solutions in response to community’s needs. All the tools created are made available under open-source format, and are suitable for use by other interested communities. Finally, in the ‘Local-to-Global Engagement’ the local initiative is scaled up by its presentation to the broader world community, through e.g. events, workshops, and tool-kits.

Particularly timely to exemplify community-driven solutions using technology[iv] is one of the Digital Democracy’s project implemented in the Ecuadorean Amazon Rainforest. The project analysed was aimed at combining drones’ monitoring of oil spills with a mobile reporting platform to allow Indigenous communities to safely report oil contamination alerts. Sparks for further research include the need to explore the level of people’s engagement, their acceptance and trust in the process, and the goals fulfilled by the people engaged in the intiative. In addition, the legal risks and criticisms hidden in the monitoring system should be evaluated, and possible ways   to neutralize them inspected.

An analysis of this case suggests that community-based early-warning systems aimed at monitoring environmental liabilities could encourage the state and corporate actors to intervene more promptly and effectively to mitigate socio-environmental impacts of environmental hazards. Pushing this analysis further, one can affirm that technology brings the potential of achieving a transformative change by giving voice to those communities who are often silent victims. As Digital Democracy uses to proclaim, “empowerment from within, rather than involvement from outside actors” is the key. Ultimately, it seems worth to reflect on the potential that such projects have in creating bridges between remote communities and the outside world, enabling them to spread denounces and awareness on environmental liabilities. Yet it must be stressed that change does not come from the technology per se, but from how people use it. Therefore, a human-centred and ethical approach result in being crucial for making such monitoring technologies in the hands of Indigenous communities a positive, responsible and sustainable innovation.

Community Monitoring, from Digital Democracy

Il presente articolo discute una serie di iniziative vertenti intorno all’uso da parte di comunità indigene di strumenti di monitoraggio remoto, al fine di tracciare rischi derivanti da attività estrattive. L’attenzione si focalizza sulle comunità abitanti zone remote, spesso lontane dagli occhi dell’opinione pubblica. Tali popolazioni sono spesso le più esposte al rischio di abusi corporativi. In riposta all’esigenza di fronteggiare tali pericoli, un’organizzazione statunitense, Digital Democracy, ha deciso di affidare droni in mano a comunità interessate al fine di tracciare in maniera sicura cattive pratiche legate all’estrazione di idrocarburi. Un’iniziativa in particolare, realizzata nell’Amazzonia Ecuadoriana, viene discussa nell’articolo. In conclusione, si sviluppa una riflessione sul potenziale, ma anche le sfide, di simili iniziative volte alla co-creazione di soluzioni tecnologiche in risposta a rischi socio-ambientali.

[i] H. Halland et al., “The Extractive Industries Sector”, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank, 2015 (ISBN 978-1-4648-0492-2).

[ii] F. Danielsen et al., “Environmental monitoring: the scale and speed of implementation varies according to the degree of peoples involvement”, Journal of Applied Ecology, 2010.

[iii] E. Skinnider, “Effect, Issues and Challenges for Victims of Crimes that have a Significant Impact on the Environment”, International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Police, Vancouver, March 2013.

[iv] A. Kumar Pratihast et al., “Application of mobile devices for community based forest monitoring”, Sensing a Changing World, 2012. http://www.geo-informatie.nl/workshops/scw2/papers/Pratihastetal.pdf


Not private, not public, but common: the experience of the Italian consortia for water management

Not private, not public, but common: the experience of the Italian consortia for water management

When it comes to discussing the role of civil society in water management, the experience of the Italian “consorzi” (consortia) is worth of attention. Similar examples, representing the material implementation of the horizontal subsidiarity, result in being particularly successful in cases of small communities with a high degree of social cohesion. However, its applicability in medium to large contexts becomes more problematic[1] because, as “The Tragedy of the Commons” theory reminds[2], a shared power of a large group on water is likely to generate an uncontrolled exploitation of the resource. As a matter of fact, the wider becomes the community of reference, the least the inhabitants feel themselves bound by the limits necessary for a proper common governance of the resource and the more they are tempted to waste it. This risk makes often preferable solutions like the exclusive control of the State on water or privatization of the water system[3].

In this contribution, the “consortium approach” to water management is presented as a successful experience in the Italian scenario. The consortium model consists of the entrustment of the service to cooperatives where users directly participate. Although this approach has been limitedly adopted in Italy, it is growing in other European countries[4]. Efficient examples can be found in Holland – the Waterschapenn – and in Wales – for example, Welsh Water.

These solutions share the feature to be an alternative to the direct assumption of the water service’s responsibility by the State. The key advantage here identified is that the service is directly supervised by the citizens, which are incentivized to participate in water management.

For the Italian case, a relevant example is represented by the Consorzi di Bonifica and the Consorzi di sviluppo industrialeThe first entities mainly operate in the agricultural sector, although there are hypothesis in which they have also the task to manage public services and to take care of water supply infrastructures. The second bodies are located in industrial areas and manage not only the industrial infrastructures, but also water treatment plants, acting in synergy with the authorities entrusted with the water service[5].

Specifically, it is noteworthy the experience of the small-sized municipalities in the northern part of Italy, where a solution neither privatenor publicbut common has been adopted for water management. For example, in the Oltrepò Pavese, the 24 hamlets of Varzi have joined their efforts to govern the water service through a communitarian approach. A similar solution has been chosen by the communities of Mezzana Montaldo in the Alto Biellese and of Cerveno in the Alta Val Camonica. Furthermore, the experience of the Consorzio acque delta ferrarese (now transformed in a stock company under the name of C.A.D.F. Spa) is particularly timely as it represents an example of water management in common through a consortium created in reaction and opposition to the HERA model, the PPP dominant in the area.

These consortia fight to defend their autonomy; they are reluctant to give away their know-how and resources to the private market and resist to the pressure of political interests. Indeed, these consortia have to resist the centripetal pressure of the State which, for economic and logistical reasons, tend to consolidate them in a few ATOs (Ambiti Territoriali Ottimali), which arguably is the first step which will lead to the conferral of the ATO to private operators[6].

It could be affirmed that there are certain similarities between this communitarian approach and the approach adopted by the medieval municipalities in which the public goods, like the woods, the fields, the springs etc. were managed in common. This ancient solution might result in being an efficient alternative in a moment of public utilities’ crisis. An antique practice can be the answer to modern difficulties of the actual society.

Moreover, the consortium approach represents the fulfillment of Article 43 of the Italian Constitution which states that essential public services can be conferred to workers or users communities  (the case here analyzed) in order to better represent the general interest. Nevertheless, numerous challenges hinder this approach, for example the scarcity of financial resources that make for the consortia hard to cover the service’s expenses.

In conclusion, it can be argued that these alternative solutions demonstrate that – in certain instances – a communitarian management of the water resource could be more efficient than a rigid assignment of property rights to private operators or to the State. Nevertheless, the outcome of the “in common solution” depends on the awareness of the relative community, on its willingness to participate, and on its capacity to respect common rules.


[1] Interview with Andrei Jouravlev at the Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe – CEPAL.

[2] Hardin, G.. 1968. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, New Series, Vol. 162, No. 3859, pp. 1243-1248. Available at http://www.geo.mtu.edu/~asmayer/rural_sustain/governance/Hardin%201968.pdf.

[3] Segerfeldt, F. 2011.  Acqua in vendita? (2003), trad.it. Torino: IBL, p.52.

[4] Santi, F. 2011. Amministrazione e controlli. Società di persone. Imprese gestite da enti collettivi. Consorzi. Gruppi europei di interesse economico. Imprese Famigliari, Associazioni in partecipazione. Padova: Cedam.

[5] Massarutto, A. 2011. Privati dell’Acqua? Bologna: Il Mulino, p.115.

[6] Ambiti Territoriali Ottimali are territorial subdivisions for water management and were created by the Law “Galli” of 1994. Legge 5 gennaio 1994 n.36, G.U. n.14 del 19-1-1994.  

Il presente articolo illustra l’esperienza dei consorzi italiani per la gestione del sistema idrico. La relazione di proporzionalità inversa tra la dimensione della comunità di riferimento e il grado di riuscita della gestione in comune della risorsa idrica viene discussa. Alcuni esempi in Europa ed in Italia di consorzi di gestione in comune dell’acqua vengono presentati. Segue una riflessione sulle sfide che il mercato e gli interessi politici presentano all’approccio comunitario. In conclusione, si auspica l’adozione e la preservazione di tale approccio, tuttavia tenendo presente il necessario sussistere di alcune condizioni, come per esempio la capacità della collettività di auto-porsi limiti e regole.


Citizen Sensing for a co-governance of the risk: the Fukushima Safecast case

Citizen Sensing for a co-governance of the risk: the Fukushima Safecast case

Credits: Image from the Safecast map (http://blog.safecast.org/maps)

It is nowadays plain that climate change, pollution and other environmental hazards directly and indirectly affect the physical, social, and psychological health of humans. This public and environmental health risk could be minimized with effective adaptation strategies and proper governance. People are increasingly becoming aware of the preventability of these risks, and push for a change in the way in which the risk is communicated and managed. When the institutional players responsible for taking action show a dominant attitude of inertia, lay citizens tend to react in defence of their right to an healthy environment and – in case of urban settings – their right to the city. This contribution focuses on how non-expert people take advantage of technology (in particular sensors and open access data infrastructures) to visualize, monitor, report and combat threats caused by environmental factors to public health. The practice is labeled as ‘Citizen Sensing’ standing for bottom-up initiated monitoring initiatives based on ICT, in general, and, in particular, on sensors.


The ‘Citizen Sense’ [1] project (2013 – 2017) states the following about Citizen Sensing: “Practices of monitoring and sensing environments have migrated to a number of everyday participatory applications, where users of smart phones and networked devices are able to engage with similar modes of environmental observation and data collection. Such ‘citizen sensing’ projects intend to democratize the collection and use of [..] sensor data in order to facilitate expanded citizen engagement in environmental [health] issue”.

From this statement, it can be inferred that Citizen Sensing is a practice of monitoring environmental (health) factors using smartphones and networked devices, which may foster citizen participation in tracking environmental (health) factors, including risks. The words ‘everyday participatory’, ‘democratize the (data) collection’ and ‘expanded citizen engagement’ may show a link with the underlying values that inform the governance of the commons. Citizen Sensing finds indeed its legitimacy and justification in the right the citizens have to the collective governance of the benefits and risks that have impact on their health and wellbeing. This goes from the co-governance of a park for the better living of a neighborhood, to the co-management of a risk (e.g. air pollution) which affects a certain community.

The potential of Citizen Sensing for an urban renaissance can be illustrated through an example regarding a well-known case.  On 12 March 2011, a hydrogen explosion occurred in the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant [2]. The residents of the area were advised to stay inside and avoid any contact with the surrounding environment, including breathing the outside air and drinking tap water. The population living in the surroundings of the plant was evacuated. A second explosion occurred on 14 March worsened the radiation level. Soon, the shortcomings of the government monitoring system emerged (Hemmi and Graham, 2014) [3]. The state system was indeed based on a network of fixed sensors that used models to calculate radiation levels. This meant that numerous locations could not have been checked, which caused anxiety and mistrust in the dwellers exposed to the risk of radiations. The state approach in this case is a clear example of the ‘linear’ way of governing environmental risks to public health by the institutional actors responsible for those risks (Fisher, 2017) [4]. Generally, the institutional approach is based on high quality monitoring equipment requiring a considerable expense and continuous labour, which often leads to low spatial and temporal resolution. Furthermore, this monitoring often leads to results which are not easily accessible by non-professional citizens, thus contributing to create a knowledge gap between those exposed to a certain risk and those having the recognized ‘expertise’ to address that risk. As registered in the Fukushima case, this approach is likely to cause a sense of public skepticism about how the institutions are facing a certain risk. This leads, on one side, to a disruptive tendency (criticizing and rejecting the established system of risk governance), but, on the other side, it constructively stimulates alternative ways for governing a risk, and a push for a co-governance of it.


In the case presented, the aforementioned tendency can be identified in an increase in the sales of radiation monitors purchased by citizens who wanted to measure their exposure to radiation. And they did not limit to that. They organize themselves in an organization, “Safecast” [5], devoted to open Citizen Science for the environment and, in particular, for radiation monitoring after the Fukushima accident. The web-based platform was established in 2011 by a group of volunteers with the aim to make publicly available accurate and trustworthy radiation information, with a view to complementing or substituting the insufficient official information. On the today still existing platform, the data are visualized using Google Fusion Tables to produce maps. Specifically, the Safecast Map depicts over 4,000,000 radiation data points. The map is fed with ad hoc data collected by citizens through low-cost radiation monitors. The data are licensed with a Creative Commons 0 license, which allows anyone anywhere in the world to use the data for any purpose. The trend from few, expensive, state-owned sensors to many, widespread, publicly-owned monitoring devices shows the need for an horizontal transparency, which entails even access to information and reliance on bottom-up produced knowledge. The success of the initiative demonstrates how technological innovation can play a key role in enabling collaboration and sustainability within and beyond the city, and can enhance co-governance of common resources as well as of common risks.


Cases like Safecast indicate the willingness of people to see their right to live in a healthy environment in action, and their commitment to have it enforced through the legal, social and even technological avenues available to them. Thorough research is needed on the influence of bottom-up citizen sensing on the governance of public/environmental health risks and on its acceptability from institutional stakeholders. There is a high demand for reflections on alternative/complementary ways to face today challenges and Citizen Sensing practices may be part of the answer. Despite its potential, Citizen Sensing will be often disputed on the basis of alleged deficits of legitimacy. Nevertheless, the values deriving from theories of urban co-governance, the principles supporting the right to a healthy environment and a conceivable right to the co-city/co-governed living environment may lay the foundations for contesting similar arguments.


Il presente articolo illustra il desiderio emergente del cittadino di fare uso dell’innovazione tecnologica (in particolare sensori e infrastrutture informatiche) al fine di visualizzare, controllare, riportare e combattere minacce causate da fattori ambientali alla salite umana. Tale pratica – qui definita come ‘Citizen Sensing’ – viene analizzata attraverso un caso studio, quello della piattaforma di monitoraggio dell’inquinamento nucleare creata da membri della società civile in risposta all’esplosione della centrale nucleare Giapponese Fukushima Daiichi. Il caso si presenta come occasione di riflessione sulla possibilità che iniziative di Citizen Sensing possano trovare legittimazione nei valori che informano la co-gestione dei beni comuni e, da ultimo, nel diritto del cittadino alla co-gestione della città e in generale dell’ambiente abitato. Tale co-gestione può interessare una risorsa condivisa, come ad esempio un parco, ma anche un rischio condiviso, come appunto l’inquinamento nucleare nel caso presentato.


[1] For a recent definition of Citizen sensing see the CitizenSense project: http://citizensense.net/about.

[2] To know more see http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident.aspx.

[3] Akiko Hemmi & Ian Graham (2014). “Hacker science versus closed science: building environmental monitoring infrastructure”. Information, Communication & Society, 17:7, 830-842, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2013.848918.

[4] Fisher, E. 2017. “Framing risk regulation: A critical reflection”. European Journal of Risk Regulation 4(2): 125-132. doi: 10.1017/S1867299X00003299.

[5] For the Safecast platform see https://blog.safecast.org/about/.