The moderation process

 

The Moderation Process

Our ambitious goal is to become the place to share useful resources about planning, running, evaluating and participating in citizen science initiatives or simply learning about citizen science, including tools and guidelines, best practices and training materials.

It is important to us, and the community of practitioners, that we have a way of ensuring that the resources profiled on the platform are indeed of good quality, and that the projects profiled on the platform are indeed citizen science initiatives. This is why we have a moderation process for all submissions.

When you create a profile for a resource or a project to share on the platform, you will be asked to provide a range of descriptive information about it, and once all of the mandatory data fields are completed, you will be able to submit the profile. The provision of this mandatory metadata is the first requirement for all profiles.

Upon submitting that profile, it will be sent for moderation to a member of the EU-Citizen.Science consortium. Until someone has reviewed it against our criteria, it will be marked as ‘not yet moderated’ on the platform, and will not be automatically visible in search results.

TLDR - too long, didn’t read

This visualisation of our moderation workflow for resources allows you to see the steps of the moderation process at a glance. The sections below provide you with more detail about how moderation works.

Required Criteria - Citizen Science

The first criterion that the moderator will look for, is that your resource is relevant to citizen science, or that your project is a citizen science initiative.

Although there are no hard and fast definitions of what citizen science is and is not (nor should there be - citizen science should always remain a broad and inclusive concept), we turn to the recent work conducted by the citizen science community on the Characteristics of Citizen Science as guidance. Please consult these characteristics if you are uncertain whether the resource or the project you would like to share really does relate to citizen science. If the moderator has concerns they will contact you directly.

Suggested Criteria - the Principles of Citizen Science

The moderator of your submitted profile will also consider whether your resource or project is in alignment with the 10 Principles of Citizen Science.

Specific criteria - the quality of the resource

For the resources to be shared on the platform, we have developed a specific set of further criteria, which will be assessed during the moderation process. You can read more about how we developed these in the blog post: ‘How we developed the quality criteria for resources’ and you can read the full list of resources criteria in Quality Criteria for Resources.

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).

For this purpose we have developed a range of criteria that the moderator will assess against a 5-point scale, from strongly disagree (1 point) to Stronly agree (5 points)

  • Easy access to the resource:the resource should be easy to access, i.e. it doesn’t require registration, and is not behind a paywall.
  • Readability and Legibility:
    • the resource should be clearly structured according to the type of the resource. For example, a scientific paper or report should include an introduction, methodology, results, discussion and/or conclusions, and methodology documents should include an introduction, audience description, step by step methodology, and an example.
    • the resource should be written in clear language that is easy to read and understand for the intended target audience, and should be concise, unambiguous, and avoid the use of unusual words and jargon. Where technical terms are used, their meaning should be explained clearly.
    • the resource should pay attention to basic formatting, such as clear titles and paragraphs, correct grammar and spelling, a legible font of large enough size to read, and clearly marked references.
  • Clarity of Content: the resource should clearly describe its aims, goals and methods, so that it is easy for readers to understand how to apply the resource in their own context.
  • Applicability
    • the resource should be easy to implement, ideally with descriptions of how it can be implemented, the contexts that it is useful for, and recommendations for further use or development.
    • the resource should be easy to adapt to different cases, ideally with an explanation of any limitations of the resource and the contexto in which it could be useful, and with guidelines or recommendations for its adaptation to different cases.
  • Object Quality:
    • If the resource is an audio object, it should be clearly audible, with no interruptions or background noise.
    • If the resource is a video, an image or illustration, the quality should be good enough to see clearly, with a sharp focus.
The highest possible score is 40 points, if all criteria are applicable. But in most cases, only a selection of the above criteria will be applicable. The moderator will look to see that your resource exceeds 50% of the total possible points for that type of resource. That is the threshold for being listed on the platform as a good quality resource.

Supporting criteria

It really enhances the value and quality of your resources 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 and applicability in practice. The moderator will also take it into positive consideration if there is evidence of the following criteria being met (but these are not part of the threshold calculation mentioned above):

  • Evaluation:
    • The resource has been used in the context of citizen science, or is it currently being used in a citizen science initiative, and the outcome of this has been shared.
    • The resource has been evaluated in terms of the quality of the content, or the methods, or the results of the method, and the outcomes of these evaluations have been shared.
  • Impact
    • The resource refers to any impact that it could have (or has had) on science, policy, society, etc.
    • The impact of the resource has been measured and is shared in the resource.

Marking as ‘Moderated’

Once your resource profile has successfully been through the moderation process, it will be marked as ‘moderated’ on the platform, and will be fully available in all search results.
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