Citizen Science: Schools across Europe Study Earthquakes

Preparing the next generation of citizen scientists via the study of earthquakes

OpenAIRE and Ellinogermaniki Agogi (EA) are in the process of producing a new scientific journal, “Open Schools Journal for Open Science” intended for and prepared by young people. It will work along a parallel citizen science project for schools across Europe with the use of school-based seismographs. The latter, named ‘Schools Study Earthquakes’ has begun as a joined initiative of Ellinogermaniki Agogi (EA) and the National Observatory of Athens, and is currently a network of 20 low-cost seismographs installed across schools.

 

Data from two seismographs installed in schools in Messinia and Sparta, Greece where they are combined to define the epicenter of the earthquake. The epicenter is located at the Calypso Deep, 100km away from the school seismometer.

An expanding network of schools across Europe are currently installing their self-made seismographs and study data, do analysis of real situations and real earthquake phenomena in real time. These schools, based in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Israel are equipped with low-cost infrastructures and receive the necessary guidance and support from various research institutions. They “act locally but think globally”, developing student projects and activities that are presented publicly and meet local needs, drawing upon local expertise and experience in the community outside of school.

 

Recordings from the school seismographs. Currently there are about 3000 recordings from earthquakes from 2016 and 2017.

 

The “Open Schools Journal for Open Science”  is also supported by the Open Schools for Open Societies project (OSOS). OpenAIRE’s contribution – is twofold; on one hand, OpenAIRE will educate students and support them along the way on how to share the data resulting from their research. The data collected by the seismographs will be stored in Zenodo, OpenAIRE’s catch-all repository, enabling schools to centrally store their data.  Thus, OpenAIRE will introduce students to the notion and the importance of open data – a valuable lesson for them- since sharing, curation and publication of data and software are a reality for all researchers. On the other hand, via  “Open Schools Journal for Open Science” students will learn to publish their research in open access, the same way as researchers do.

The most recent activity of the project took place on the 27th of April 2018. During the Athens Science Festival a big celebration was organized for eight Greek schools that won the national competition “Make your own seismograph”. H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos attended the event and praised the cooperation between School and Research.

 

Mr Prokopis Pavlopoulos, President of the Hellenic Republic with students of Ellinogermaniki Agogi School

Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos  mentioned that ‘This is an innovative form of teaching, since such a programme paves the way for science, connects students with scientific information, teaches them how to approach scientific research, but also how to challenge its results. And, we must not forget that questioning the scientific results is what fuels the progress of science’.

 

 

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