Designing an infrastructural service to bridging the open science ecosystem and society

The examples of the COESO project and the VERA hub




citizen science, open science


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The presentation will be centred around lessons learned and experiences from the European project COESO, a double-layer research project providing a framework in support of collaborative engagement on societal issues. COESO supports ten citizen science pilots implementing a participatory approach in several European countries: small scale and high intensity collaborations, starting with  the problem formulation and extending through the common analysis. The pilots include contributions from different disciplines of the social sciences and the humanities (history, philosophy, political science, sociology and anthropology) and involve artists, journalists, associative members, local authorities. The support provided to the pilots includes mutual learning sessions and accompaniment in the use of a research blogging platform: not only to share the projects’ results, but also to enhance the teams’ co-research activity. Furthermore, the COESO project develops a Virtual Ecosystem for Research Activation (the VERA platform), conceived as a "collaboratory", a common digital framework supporting the projects’ teams in finding partners, managing their project and finding funding. VERA is included among the "Research for Society" services of the OPERAS research infrastructure, whose mission is to support scholarly communication in the social sciences and the humanities (SSH) across Europe.

In the effort to build a sustainable framework to support participatory research in the SSH through a digital platform, the COESO project journey provided insights on the challenges and opportunities of participatory research with and within the SSH, including how a research infrastructure can effectively design a service to foster community engagement, bridging different research practices and systems of knowledge (ensemble of practices, methodologies, vocabularies, concepts, outputs), supporting innovation in output formats and setting the premise of an enhanced network of research data linking. 

Participatory research and citizen science practices are research approaches that challenge the prevailing research processes, and potentially lead to innovative practices that allow for new bridges between knowledge systems and infrastructures. The presentation will highlight two innovative digital formats explored by two COESO pilots to render their research: (1) a multimodal website proposing an interactive map that guides visitors from the broader public to explore the research findings, which were accomplished through a plurality of participatory research approaches. It also includes the "data" behind: the website spatializes a set of materials: interviews, archives, focus groups, and portraits are displayed in a geographical space, and (2) the digital tool, Memorekall, which starts from a video recording to develop a multi-document (including notes, documents, audio, or web links) to record and document the creative process.


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Author Biographies

Alessia Smaniotto, School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences and OPERAS

Alessia develops citizen science projects and services for the OPERAS community. Trained in philosophy, journalism and sociology, former journalist, she holds a PhD in Philosophy from the French École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Her doctoral research focused on journalism as a form of knowledge. Her current work focuses on participatory practices within the SSH disciplines. She coordinated the PLACES project, granted by the French Ministry of Culture, focused on the collaboration between researchers and journalists, and she is coordinating the COESO project, funded by the European Commission, to further upgrade the OPERAS Research for Society Service.

Kelly Achenbach, Max Weber Stiftung - Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland

Kelly Achenbach is the Communication Officer for the COESO project. She holds a degree in Communication Studies and applied the knowledge to her previous work advocating for the educational needs of at-risk populations, mostly in California, within non-profit organisations as well as educational institutions. After moving to Germany in 2016, she studied in the master’s program for Applied Linguistics at Bonn University, leading her to learn about the OPERAS infrastructure and eventually take on a supportive communications role before moving into her current position within COESO.



How to Cite

Smaniotto, A., & Achenbach, K. (2023). Designing an infrastructural service to bridging the open science ecosystem and society: The examples of the COESO project and the VERA hub. Septentrio Conference Series, (1).