Citizen science is a rising trend of engaging volunteers in academic research, which can occur on different levels - either by collecting field data with help of volunteers, engaging them in the process of research development and analysis or simply by asking to perform routine operations like counting different types of cells on screen or transcribing the field notes.
With technological advances the ability of citizens to contribute to the science through various social and scientific networks is greatly increased. Computers, mobile devices, wireless data connections etc. are part of everyday life and at the same time basic means for data collection and exchange. The monitoring of nature is widespread activity for many citizens, the birdwatchers as best example, as evidenced by huge amount of different portals and sites. They do it of own free will and in many cases these portals are developed or supervised by researcher’s communities.
EU BON addresses larger needs for biodiversity monitoring data for the society: data interoperability, data mobilisation, strengthening capacity for data analyse and management are goals of EU BON. EU BON is working on finding strategies for citizen science to be part of these developments and will help with tools, guidelines, best practice examples and networking efforts to ensure that the citizen science data takes its rightful place in biodiversity research.
In this chapter we provide repository of tools and application which can be integrated in your own citizen science project, links to international and global initiatives and programs, and links to useful documentation, scientific papers and reports on relevant subject.
PlutoF Citizen Science and Custom Forms
There is a citizen science (CS) module available on PlutoF workbench to create SC projects for biodiversity data mobilization. Project coordinator can create new project and custom data input form that can be used for collecting data in a uniform and standard way.
Ongoing developments will also able to share their data through APIs, as well as data recording through API tools. The database is compatible with Darwin Core standards and can be published through the GBIF IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit). Current consensus for the taxonomic backbone is that it should follow PESI for the European species lists and higher classifications.
Registry of online tools for Citizen Science
This is the list of existing citizen science tools, applications, online platforms which are mainly oriented to monitoring of nature (data collection) and not on crowdsourcing (data processing). The registry will be useful to a user planning an observational activity and looking for ideas, best practicies, open access services or tools. The repository is searchable on category (keywords reflecting the sort of activities which could be performed with data) and on taxa. We are permanently busy adding new tools to the repository. Currently collects 42 entries.
Existing CS repositories, useful links
|EuMon: EU-wide monitoring methods and systems of surveillance for species and habitats of Community interest|
EuMon project (2004-2008) focused on four major aspects important for biodiversity monitoring:
- the involvement of volunteers
- coverage and characteristics of monitoring schemes
- monitoring methods
- setting of monitoring and conservation priorities. It further developed tools to support biodiversity monitoring
The EuMon consortium, comprising 16 partners from 11 EU-countries, designed databases and carried out online surveys to provide an overview of monitoring approaches and monitoring organisations in Europe. The important outcomes of the project are:
- Comprehensive database (DaEuMon) on European biodiversity monitoring schemes, based on an online questionnaire. The database contains metadata that characterise monitoring schemes and provides contact addresses. DaEuMon is maintained and expanded continuously (649 entries so far).
- PMN database that contains information on organisations that carry out volunteer based biodiversity monitoring (327 entries so far). With an online form to register the metadata on your citizen science project/initiative/monitoring scheme.
- BioMAT - the EuMon integrated Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment Tool. BioMAT’s module 1 allows extraction of this information and its presentation in tabular or graphical form.
ECSA is an association supported by organizations from over 10 EU Countries, who are working together with environmental regulators to encourage the growth of the citizen science movement in Europe.
- support the growth of national citizen science communities across the EU;
- share knowledge and skills on citizen science;
- develop EU wide citizen science programmes;
- identify, develop and promote best practice and excellence in citizen science;
- collaborate with the growing international citizen science community.