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ECS Best Practices report for collaborative data infrastructures

Sonia Liñán
Feb. 8, 2024, 12:44 p.m.

A blueprint for enhanced citizen science data management

The European Citizen Science (ECS) project has released a report to revolutionise data management practices within citizen science initiatives. This report, led by researchers from the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC), derived from a meticulous literature review, serves as a comprehensive guide for organisations and individuals involved in developing and implementing technological services in citizen science.

The report is based on an exhaustive review, scanning through 192 potential sources from academic databases like Scopus and Web of Science, along with the European repository Zenodo; and employing a rigorous screening process to identify the most relevant information. The outcome? A curated selection of 65 documents that form the backbone of crucial insights and best practices strategically organised into seven thematic sections.

Aligning with the Science Data Lifecycle Model (SDLM), the report's seven thematic sections cover crucial stages: data infrastructure, data services, data collection, data standards, data quality assurance, data accessibility, data ownership, policy, and ethics. Each section is meticulously crafted and provides a roadmap for citizen science projects at various developmental stages.

Also, recognising the importance of ethical considerations in the ever-evolving landscape of data management, the report emphasises the integration of an ethical framework alongside the technical aspects. This dual focus ensures a holistic approach to responsible and effective data handling.

In addition, the report highlights the importance of collaborative strategies such as co-design and co-development within the training of digital skills. These strategies open different process phases to co-create the service or infrastructure, fostering a participatory and inclusive approach and placing end-users at the centre. The Cos4Cloud project co-design methodology is presented in the report as a reference for implementing co-design in developing data services and data infrastructures.

The report is a compilation of practices and a dynamic resource for current and future citizen science projects. It offers insights and guidance on critical aspects of data management, from establishing technological infrastructure to navigating ethical considerations in data ownership and policy.

Here the complete report.

image credit: ECSA flickr

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