JRC Survey Report looks at citizen science
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a survey report on 19 May 2016 which provides insights into citizen science projects and how they manage data. It recommends steps to boost their input to institutional research and policy-making.
The JRC's survey was carried out between July and September 2015 by an open call via Citizen Science associations, European Commission departments and other organisations and projects. 121 projects provided responses and thus insights into how citizen science projects currently operate.
84% of the responding projects were from the area of environmental research, since citizen science is already an established concept in this field. The remaining projects included a wide range of other topics. The projects ranged from from neighbourhood to continental level, showing the potential for citizen science to provide different scales of data. Amongst other issues, results showed that citizen scientists are very open to sharing their results, increasing their ability to contribute to research and policy. Over 60% of projects have data management plans in place, but there seems to be a striking need for greater knowledge about re-use licences. Funding for citizen science projects comes from a wide range of sources, with about one third funded by national grants, one fifth by EU grants, and more than half by in-kind contributions.
According to the JRC, the survey has started a global conversation about citizen science data management. Its analysis of the results calls for best practices to be promoted, along with greater collaboration between projects and fields, and suggests topics for further investigation.
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