Go to content

The national charter for citizen science and research: the Particip-Arc network's value base

The report «Citizen science in France», drawn up under the direction of François Houllier (then Chairman and CEO of INRA and Chairman of AllEnvi), provides an overview of citizen science and research initiatives in France. Conducted in 2016, this report led to the drafting of a Charter for Citizen Science and Research in France», signed on 20 March 2017 by approximately thirty higher education and research establishments, NGOs and associations.

This charter sets out:

  • Shared values

    • Promoting cooperation and the production of public or common goods;
    • Respect for party autonomy and mutual recognition;
    • Diversity of knowledge at work and the power of parties to act.
  • Ethical principles and scientific integrity

    • A rigorous and shared scientific approach;
    • Explicit governance;
    • Concerted use of data;
    • Privacy policy;
    • Fair recognition of all parties;
    • Appropriate evaluation of scientific systems and projects.
  • Conditions for success

    • Effective and timely management of resources;
    • Appropriate digital tools;
    • Support for actors;
    • Implementation adapted to educational environments;
    • Open to all types of audience, including civil society actors.

The partners of the Particip-Arc network recognise themselves in this national charter and have made it part of their core values and commitments. In addition, and in order to fully take into account the specificities of the fields of culture, they have also added their own specificities:

  • Scientific approach

    Often, in human and social science projects, it is not the data (in the strict sense of the word) that is reproducible but the methods used (to compare, compile, calculate, etc.). It should, therefore, be noted that the scientific approach must make it possible to ensure reproducibility of the data and, at the very least, provide detailed documentation of the conditions and methods used to acquire said data.

  • Explicit governance

    The methods and degrees of individual or collective actor involvement from the scientific community and civil society in the governance of citizen science and citizen research projects vary from case to case. When the project is carried out at the scale of communities (thousands of people), the formal gathering of consent goes through traditional power structure channels, even if the informal agreement of all participants is systematically required. The terms of the project (including its governance) must be accepted by all the participants or their representatives.

  • Diversity of cultures

    The charter was drawn up in response to the "Citizen Science in France" report and therefore takes French society as its main frame of reference (we speak of "society", or even "our society"). It is important to the Particip-Arc network members, whose operations go well beyond the French national perimeter, to take into account the diversity of cultures in the construction and conduct of citizen cultural research projects.

Musée de Bibracte permanent exhibition, upper gallery. « Bulliot, Bibracte et Moi" project ©Bibracte, Antoine Maillier


Any person or organisation wishing to become a member of the network must first familiarise themselves with the charter, and the specifications provided, and incorporate the principles into their own practices.
By becoming a member, individuals and/or organisations undertake to contribute to all or part of the network's activities, according to their means and availability (seminars, meetings, workshops, posting content on the portal, etc.). Network members hereby authorise the coordinating body to communicate with them, via the email address provided when they registered, in order to structure activities and the running of the Particip-Arc network.

Compliance with legislation on the protection of personal data

Members who place projects online on the Particip-Arc portal are responsible, in the context of the participation of individuals in their project, for complying with legislative provisions on the protection of personal data and the principles they establish for the implementation of data processing (purpose, relevance, retention, rights, security):

  • General Regulation on the protection of personal data of 25 May 2018 (European Regulation 2016/679);
  • Law no. 2018-493 of 20 June 2018, promulgated on 21 June 2018, which amended the Data Protection Act in order to bring national law into line with the European legal framework. It enables the practical implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the "police-justice" directive, applicable to files in the criminal sphere;
  • Order No. 2018-1125 of 12 December 2018 issued pursuant to Article 32 of Law No. 2018-493 of 20 June 2018 on the protection of personal data and amending Law No. 78-17 of 6 January 1978 on information technology, files and freedoms and various provisions on the protection of personal data.

See CNIL advice: https://www.cnil.fr/professionnel

The town of Charleville before 1679. “Tous historiens !” project. ©Connexions Carolopolitans