Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who is the EU-Citizen.Science Knowledge Hub for?

Our community is open to anyone interested in citizen science - our vision for the platform is to encourage the democratization of science via the wide establishment and appreciation of citizen science approaches across Europe.

We hope to become the central reference point for anyone setting up or running a citizen science project - such as practitioners, researchers, educators, communities and citizens, anyone supporting the ecosystem of citizen science projects - such as policy makers and funding bodies, and anyone interested in the outcomes and impact of citizen science - such as decision makers, the press, and society as a whole. It doesn’t matter if you have years of experience or are completely new to citizen science.

You can read more about our assessment of our stakeholders, community members, and target audience in the project Stakeholders,Network & Community Mapping Report and in the project Engagement and Community- building Plan.

What are the features of the EU-Citizen.Science platform?

This second release of the platform (1.0 April 2020, 2.0 September 2020) has a comprehensive search function at its heart, where you can browse and search for resources that are useful for planning and running citizen science projects, training resources and materials about the practice of citizen science, and citizen science projects to learn from the experience of others and collaborate.

New features in this release include a section for sharing Training Resources and Materials, a new section to profile Organisations, and the Community Forums. We welcome your comments and feedback to contribute on the further development of the platform.

Why should I sign-up to become a member of the community?

When you sign-up to be a member of the EU-Citizen.Science community, there are a range of additional features that become available to you. You will be able to share your own projects and resources with the community, profile your organisation and link that profile with the projects you are involved in, provide a star rating for other projects and resources, and leave feedback or information about your own experience using those resources. When viewing a project profile, you can ‘Follow’ it, or when viewing a resource profile you can ‘Add to library’ to find them quickly again from your Personal Area. You will also be able to join the disccussions in the Community Forum.

Are the resources hosted on the EU-Citizen.Science platform?

No, we don’t host any documents, files, or software on our own platform. When a profile is created for a resource, it points to the location where that resource is stored or published, and project profiles point to the external website of that project. We strongly recommend the use of permanent repositories (such as the publisher’s page, Zenodo, OSF or the RIO Journal) to create permalinks and digital object identifiers (DOI) for all resources.

I can’t find the type of resource that I’m looking for, can you help?

While the alpha release of the Platform is in the content-gathering phase, we will still be missing many of the rich citizen science resources that exist already. But maybe what you are looking for does not exist yet. Please send us a message at eucitsci@mfn.berlin and we will do our best to help you find it, or initiate the creation of it!

Can I add a project or resource of my own?

Yes, we actively invite and encourage all members of the community to create a profile for their organisations, citizen science projects and resources on the platform. To create a profile, you will first need to Sign Up and Log In to the platform and then select the appropriate form via the +ADD button in the top right-hand corner.

Please note that we moderate all submissions (What is the moderation process?) to ensure that all resources are of good quality (What are the quality criteria?), and that all projects are indeed citizen science initiatives (What is citizen science?).

Please note that resources are not uploaded to the platform, rather they are linked to from within the profile that you create.

What types of resources can I submit?

Resources should be related to citizen science, and useful for understanding, planning, implementing and evaluating citizen science and citizen science practices, or otherwise of value to citizen science practitioners.

Resources can include documents such as how-to guides, publications, reports, policy briefs, and protocols; technical tools such as software or hardware; other file formats such as videos, podcasts, and diagrams; and even websites or webpages. Please note that there is a separate form for Training Resources and Materials that are about the practice of citizen science. When creating your resource profile, you will be asked to select one of the following type categories:

  • Collections are organized sets of technical resources such as databases, repositories, libraries, toolkits and toolboxes that bring together relevant resources for a particular purpose in CS initiatives.
  • Datasets are data encoded in a defined structure. Examples include lists, tables, and databases. A dataset may be useful for direct machine processing, for example, or may contain data from a CS project.
  • Events are time-based occurrences that recurs on a regular basis, such as a monthly webcast, annual conference, or workshop series. (You can tell us about your single-occurring event, to have it added to our Events page, by sending us a comment.)
  • Still Images are static visual representations other than text, such as a graphic illustration, a photograph, a drawing, or a map.
  • Moving Images are a series of visual representations that impart motion, such as animations, movies, television programs, videos, zoetropes, or visual output from a simulation.
  • Interactive Resources are websites and webpages are online sites where CS related guidance, experience, and knowledge is published and shared.
  • Physical Objects are objects such as hardware and equipment that support or enable a particular task in citizen science initiatives, such as water quality equipment, air quality sensors, etc.
  • Services are a system that provides one or more functions, such as a mobile application development service, a lending library, an authentication service, a data analysis service, or a technology providor.
  • Software is a computer program in source or compiled form, such as mobile applications that support a particular task, or data analysis tools that enable the processing of CS data.
  • Sound Resources are audio resources or sound files with CS related content such as podcasts, audio books, radio broadcasts, etc.
  • Text Resources consist primarily of words for reading, and consist of such sub-categories as guidelines, reports, books, scientific publications, policy briefs, project deliverables, white or green papers, working papers and others.
  • Training Resources and Materials, which have their own dedicated section on the platform and a separate profile form, are resources that are designed or can be used explicitly for the goals of teaching or training a person on the practice of citizen science. For example, how to design and implement a volunteer-based activity, how to control data quality, the ethical and legal requirements of working with volunteers and managing their data. These can include massive open online courses (MOOCs), workshops, webinars, gamified training, and quizzes.
All resources should meet a range of quality criteria such as being clearly structured, easy to read (or hear, or view), and easy to understand. For guidance, read our Quality Guidelines here.

What types of projects can I submit?

The Projects profiled must involve participants in a way that can genuinely be considered citizen science. For guidance, please refer to ECSA's Characteristics of Citizen Science The projects can be short-term or long-term initiatives, projects without an end date, or even one-day ‘Bioblitz’ events.

Citizen science projects can involve voluntary participants (citizen scientists) in many fields of research, in many stages of the research process - from data collection and volunteer mapping, through data interpretation and analysis, to publication and dissemination of results.

Additionally, projects profiled on the platform should engage as much as possible with the ECSA 10 Principles of Citizen Science.

How do I add a project or resource?

Once you have signed up and are logged in , look for the +ADD button in the top-right had corner of the website. There you can select the profile form that you wish to complete, for submission to the platform. We recommend that you first create a profile for your organisation, so that it can be linked to your projects and resources.

In these form you will be asked to provide descriptive information in a number of mandatory and optional data fields. This information will be used for creating the public profile of the project or resource on our platform. Please note that resources are not uploaded to the platform, rather they are linked to from within the profile that you create.

Please note that you will be required to describe the citizen science aspects of your project, and the way in which your resource relates to the practice of citizen science. When saved, the profile will be submitted to a member of the EU-Citizen.Science team for moderation. (What is the moderation process?) Once that process is complete, the profile will be marked as ‘Moderated’, and will be fully available on the platform.

How does moderation work?

When a profile is saved, it will be submitted for moderation to a member of the EU-Citizen.Science consortium, and marked as ‘not yet moderated’ on the platform.

The first criterion that the moderator will look for, is that you have described the citizen science aspects of your project, or described the way in which your resource is relevant to citizen science. Guidance for this can be found in the Characteristics of Citizen Science developed by the citizen science community. The moderator will also consider whether your resource or project is in alignment with the 10 Principles of Citizen Science.

Resources will be assessed further against a range of specific criteria to ensure that they are easy to access, implement and adapt, are well structured, are clearly described and written in clear language, and ideally improve or support the desired impact of the initiative (eg. on science, policy or society, etc). Read the full list of criteria in Quality Criteria for Resources, and find out how we developed these in the blog post: href'https://eu-citizen.science/blog/2020/04/30/how-we-developed-quality-criteria-resources/'>How we developed the quality criteria for resources.

What are the quality criteria for resources?

After completing all mandatory metadata fields in the profile, and ensuring that the resource is relevant to citizen science initiatives, the resource will be assessed against a set of specific criteria that we developed to ensure that all resources profiled on the platform are of good quality.

We consider good quality citizen science resources to be those that are easy to access, implement and adapt, are well structured, are clearly described and written in clear language, and ideally improve or support the desired impact of the initiative (eg. on science, policy or society, etc). It also enhances the value and quality of your resource when you can say something about how it has been used and developed further in practice, and whether or not it has been evaluated for usefulness, applicability, and impact.

You can read the full list of criteria in Quality Criteria for Resources,.

What are the quality criteria for projects?

The same overarching criteria are applied to both projects and resources. You are required to provide descriptive information in a number of data fields in the project profile, some of which are mandatory before it can be submitted for moderation. One of these mandatory fields is a description of the citizen science aspects of the project. Guidance for this can be found in the Characteristics of Citizen Science. A further suggested overarching criteria for projects is that they be in alignment with the 10 Principles of Citizen Science.

Can I edit a profile after I have saved it?

Yes, you can edit and update the profiles of the projects and resources that you have shared, both before and after they have been moderated. You can find these profile edit pages in your Personal Area.

What is the Our Selection page?

The members of the EU-Citizen.Science consortium have curated a list of ‘Gold Star’ resources from amongst those in the Resources section that are of particularly high quality, or represent best practice, to make it easier for new and experienced practitioners alike to zoom in on the most useful resources. Read more about Our Selection in the blog post ‘How we selected the starter set of resources, and curated ‘Our Selection’.

What is the Personal Area?

The Personal Area is where you can edit any of the content profiles that you have submitted (as a logged-in member of the platform), in order to keep those profiles up to date. There you will also find the list of projects that you have ‘followed’, and the resources that you have added to your ‘library’ so that you can find them quickly again from your Personal Area.

Please also share more information about yourself in the Profile area, with other members of the community.

What does it mean to follow a project?

When you are logged in, you will see a ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of the project profiles. This allows you to add projects that you are interested in to a list that can be found in your Personal Area, allowing you to find this project again easily.

What does it mean to 'add to my library'?

When you are logged in, you will see an ‘Add to library’ button at the bottom of the resource profiles. This allows you to add resources that you are interested in to a list that can be found in your Personal Area, allowing you to find this resource again easily.

What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science actively involves the public in scientific research that generates new knowledge or understanding, and thus has the potential to bring together science, policy makers, and society as a whole in an impactful way.

As a core dimension of Open Science, it opens up the opportunity for all members of society to take an active role in research, innovation and the development of evidence-based policy, at local, national and EU levels. Citizen scientists can participate in many stages of the scientific process, from data collection and volunteer mapping, through data interpretation and analysis, to publication and dissemination of results.

Citizen science is a flexible concept which can be adapted and applied within diverse situations and disciplines, and represents a range of approaches and historical practices for public participation in scientific research. As a result, there are a wide range of activities that can fall under the umbrella of citizen science, as can be seen in the Characteristics of Citizen Science A good source of guidance when planning a citizen science initative is the ECSA 10 Principles of Citizen Science.
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