Health is relatively under-represented in citizen science, despite the fact that it is a diverse and promising domain. Citizen science has great potential to contribute to innovative health research, as well as to society.
Looking at citizen science from different levels of participation, and different types of health research, is helpful to understand the variety of research projects. Traditionally, patients are often included in health research programming; however, they are hardly or not at all engaged in decision-making on specific research questions, in methodology development, data collection, analysis and the development of conclusions and recommendations, nor in new role definitions.
In public health research, citizens are sometimes included in participatory action research, leading to responsive policies and interventions, as well as to citizen empowerment. However, such research is seldom framed as citizen science, and within public health research such (mainly qualitative) methods have less status and influence compared to expert-based epidemiological approaches.