Citizen scientists collect more nature data than ever

Citizen science continues to make a substantial contribution to a wide variety of scientific disciplines by allowing the public to be involved in activities like idea generation, study design, and data collection and analysis. Although the pace of citizen science has exploded in recent decades, there remains untapped potential for scientific output through investment in research infrastructure (RI) that more specifically supports citizen science activities.

A newly published case study from the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and CSIRO (Australia’s national science agency) looks at how the ALA has supported the growth of citizen science over the past decade by improving access to and utility of citizen science data and products, resulting in around 50% of the 115 million records in ALA coming from citizen scientists.

It shows that around one quarter of data collection projects provide around half of all species observation records in the ALA, supplementing specimen-based data to provide a more comprehensive picture of species distributions in Australia. It also discusses how RI, like the ALA, supports common citizen science data challenges by implementing tools to standardise complex data, to safely store sensitive data, and to improve participation and discoverability of citizen science data. The findings demonstrate the importance of investment in open access research infrastructure to support and augment the scientific value of the citizen science movement globally.

More details can be found in the full article which was originally published on The Conversation.

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