by Sven Schade, Anne Bowser, and Russell Scarpino; minor edits by Claudia Göbel
Photo by Luigi Ceccaroni
With the growth of citizen science comes the challenge of coordinating people, projects, and data. But these challenges also present a tremendous opportunity – with proper standardization, data can support multiple projects, allowing citizen science to address ever-grander issues and problems.
The U.S. Citizen Science Association (CSA) recently founded a Data and Metadata Working Group to promote collaboration in citizen science through development and/or improvement of international standards for data and metadata. To support, advance, and facilitate interoperability, the working group supports the standardization of:
Within ECSA, the Working Group on “Data, Tools and Technology” is working on related topics.
This project is a collaboration between the CSA, ECSA, the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) and other organizations. It seeks to implement joint work on web based services and resources as one of the three core areas of cooperation identified in the Memorandum of Understanding between the three associations.
On Jan. 26-27, 2016, the European Commission’s Joint Research Center invited 20 international participants, including members of the three associations, to Ispra, Italy for a two-day workshop to discuss data and service infrastructures for citizen science.
Participants at the workshop were asked to: (1) discuss the relationships between existing databases (e.g., SciStarter, Atlas of Living Australia, and Citsci.org); (2) identify major requirements for interoperability between citizen science project databases, including a new database to be hosted by the European Commission; (3) draft a reference model for analyzing and sharing citizen science tools and data; and, (4) define a high-level roadmap with checkpoints for synchronizing ongoing activities related to standardization.
The workshop – a full report is available here – showcased the highly collaborative nature of the global community of citizen science projects and portals, and represented the important and ongoing collaborative effort between the European, Australian, and American Citizen Science Associations.
Workshop participants also developed a set of next steps to begin to move towards citizen science data and metadata standardization:
To coordinate with or contribute to the CSA working group, please contact Anne Bowser (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, firstname.lastname@example.org).
To coordinate with or contribute to the ECSA working group, please contact Luigi Ceccaroni (1000001 Labs, email@example.com) or Jaume Piera (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To coordinate or contribute to the ACSA working group, please contact Peter Brenton (Atlas of Living Australia, Peter.Brenton@csiro.au).
For information on the Ispra workshop, please contact: Sven Schade (Digital Earth and Reference Data Unit – JRC.H06, email@example.com).