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We will be updating this page with blogs to provide you with different perspectives from our GUIDE oral health community and regular news updates on how we are progressing.


What is citizen science and why we would like to hear from you to improve oral health and dental services?

Posted by Beatriz Goulao (Admin) Sep 16, 2021

Hello and welcome to the GUIDE platform!

We are a group of researchers, dentists, guideline developers and patients aiming to improve oral health and dental services to ensure patients and members of the public receive the best possible treatment. However, we need your help to achieve this. We would like to hear your ideas, experiences and thoughts on how together we can improve oral health and dental services.

To find out more about the project, you can go here.

For now, I will tell you a bit more about citizen science, what is it in this context and what we aim to achieve. Other blogs will focus on participatory research and patient and public involvement, oral health and dental services and ideas generated by the platform users.

Citizen science

Citizen science includes a range of different types of projects where citizens (members of the public) can be active in one or more stages of the research project and help generate new knowledge or understanding. Ultimately, it aims to open up science and research, making it a more democratic and participatory process. This can lead to mutual learning, between citizens and scientists, quicker and more sustainable changes. Traditionally, it has been applied to environmental sciences, but it has slowly been adopted by other science fields, including health.

The European Citizen Science Association defines 10 principles that should be incorporated when planning a citizen science project [1]. They include the fact that citizen science should benefit both citizens and scientists from taking part. Citizen science project data should be publicly available and citizen scientists should receive feedback from their projects. Citizen scientists are acknowledged in all outputs, including scientific publications and presentations.

Citizen science in healthcare

Citizen science in healthcare is a relatively new concept, but it has been successfully implemented in the past. Examples include a platform for citizen scientist with psoriasis to learn more about their health, share data and ask their own research questions [2]. Another way to bring citizen science into healthcare improvement is to invite members of the public to generate ideas on how to make services better.

Idea generation

Idea generation involves collecting ideas from a group of people in to solve specific problems or generate innovation. Idea generation and management can be carried out on a large scale engaging with thousands or tens of thousands of participants [3].

Traditionally, generating ideas for new research projects and to improve healthcare has been done by “experts” but members of the public or patients have been often excluded from this process. Citizen science and online platforms bring the opportunity of making this process more democratic and transparent. People attending health services will have their own unique experiences to share that can help generate solutions and innovation and improve experiences.

Organisations like Starbucks and Dell, as well as the NHS [4,5,6] have used these platforms to help make decisions, develop new and innovative products, and improve existing products.

How do we take the ideas forward?

Different projects have implemented ideas in different ways. In the GUIDE platform, we will select the most feasible and popular ideas to take forward. We will invite citizens to stay involved in the improvement and refinement of these ideas and in developing research projects that can help evaluate them in the real world.


1 - European Citizen Science Association: As of 16 Sept 2021, link to the 10 principles here:

2 - Sanchez et al. 2018. Building a Citizen Pscientist: Advancing Patient-Centered Psoriasis Research by Empowering Patients as Contributors and Analysts. Dermatol Ther. As of 16 Sept 2021, available here:

3 - THIS Institute. 2018. "Citizen science: generating ideas and exploring consensus." Report available here:

4 - Hossain et al. 2017. ‘How Do Digital Platforms for Ideas, Technologies, and Knowledge Transfer Act as Enablers for Digital Transformation?’ Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. As of 16 Sept 2021, available here:

5 - Benbya et al. 2017. ‘Harnessing Employee Innovation in Idea Management Platforms: Lessons from Allianz UK.’ Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. As of 16 Sept 2021, available here:

6 - Saldivar et al. Idea Management Communities in the Wild. As of 16 Sept 2021, available here:



This post was edited on Sep 16, 2021 by Beatriz Goulao

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