Do biodiversity monitoring citizen science surveys meet the core principles of open science practices?

Suter, S., Barrett, B. and Welden, N. (2023) Do biodiversity monitoring citizen science surveys meet the core principles of open science practices? Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 195(2), 295. (doi: 10.1007/s10661-022-10887-y) (PMID:36633699)

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Citizen science (CS), as an enabler of open science (OS) practices, is a low-cost and accessible method for data collection in biodiversity monitoring, which can empower and educate the public both on scientific research priorities and on environmental change. Where OS increases research transparency and scientific democratisation; if properly implemented, CS should do the same. Here, we present the findings of a systematic review exploring “openness” of CS in biodiversity monitoring. CS projects were scored between − 1 (closed) and 1 (open) on their adherence to defined OS principles: accessible data, code, software, publication, data management plans, and preregistrations. Openness scores per principle were compared to see where OS is more frequently utilised across the research process. The relationship between interest in CS and openness within the practice was also tested. Overall, CS projects had an average open score of 0.14. There was a significant difference in open scores between OS principles (p =  < 0.0001), where “open data” was the most adhered to practice compared to the lowest scores found in relation to preregistrations. The apparent level of interest in CS was not shown to correspond to a significant increase in openness within CS (p = 0.8464). These results reveal CS is not generally “open” despite being an OS approach, with implications for how the public can interact with the research that they play an active role in contributing to. The development of systematic recommendations on where and how OS can be implemented across the research process in citizen science projects is encouraged.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barrett, Dr Brian and Suter, Samantha and Welden, Dr Natalie
Authors: Suter, S., Barrett, B., and Welden, N.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Journal Name:Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
ISSN (Online):1573-2959
Published Online:12 January 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 195(2): 295
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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