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From Conservation to Crowdsourcing: A Typology of Citizen Science
 

From Conservation to Crowdsourcing: A Typology of Citizen Science

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Presentation from HICSS-44 on a typology of citizen science project types.

Presentation from HICSS-44 on a typology of citizen science project types.

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    From Conservation to Crowdsourcing: A Typology of Citizen Science From Conservation to Crowdsourcing: A Typology of Citizen Science Presentation Transcript

    • From Conservation to Crowdsourcing: A Typology of Citizen Science A Typology of Citizen Science
      • Andrea Wiggins & Kevin Crowston, Syracuse University
        • 7 January, 2011 ~ HICSS-44
    • Introduction
      • Citizen Science
        • Crowdsourcing scientific research through virtual collaboration between professional researchers and the public
        • Collective goals are addressed through open participation in research
      • Motivations
        • Describe landscape of citizen science
        • Support future research, cyberinfrastructure design, and project management
    • Related Work
      • More like scientific cyberinfrastructure projects than collaboratories
      • Peer production: similar task structure but different with respect to hierarchical form, not self-organizing
      • Communities of practice: motivation and progressive engagement
      • Not necessarily “open science” but science with open participation, and often open data
      • Prior typologies in the environmental sciences focus on public engagement in different steps of scientific research
    • Methods
      • Landscape sampling : purposive and comprehensive in type, rather than frequency
      • Examined 30 projects on 80 facets drawn from theoretical framework
        • Manually collected data from the web, published reports, and interviews
        • Example facet types : project demographics, organizational affiliations, funding sources, outcomes, processes, technologies, project and task design
      • Inductive qualitative clustering on dominant project goals and virtuality
      • Practitioner review : intuitive fit to experiences
    • Typology Type Primary Goals Physicality Action Action & Intervention ✓ Conservation Conservation & Stewardship ✓ Investigation Science ✓ Virtual Science - Education Education & Outreach ✓
    • Action
      • Volunteer-initiated participatory action research to encourage intervention in local concerns
      • Example : Sherman’s Creek Conservation Association protected a creek through political action supported by scientific water monitoring
      • Scientific : substantial volunteer commitment may be required; results not likely to become scholarly knowledge; variation across local projects makes aggregating data difficult
      • Organizational : local organizing and scale; long-term sustainability
      • Technology : minimal IT use; technology is often burdensome to maintain, and other means of coordination may be easier
    • Conservation
      • Address natural resource management goals by involving citizens in stewardship for outreach and increased scope
      • Example : Northeast Phenology Monitoring is a regional partnership for long-term ecological monitoring in the National Parks
      • Scientific : focus on resource management decision-making; tend toward conservative research design with established volunteer groups
      • Organizational : long-term goals and government funding sources; initiated by academics or resource managers; usually regional scale
      • Technology : full range of sophistication, from no online data entry forms to smartphone apps for data submission of geotagged photos
    • Investigation
      • Focus on scientific research goals in a physical setting
      • Example : the Great Sunflower Project is studying ecological health through volunteers’ observations of bee visits to sunflowers
      • Scientific : careful design for scientific validity with diverse validation methods; geospatial distribution of volunteers is an asset and a bias
      • Organizational : larger scale; organized by academics or nonprofits; diverse sustainability strategies
      • Technology : diverse; online data entry is standard practice, but access to data is less consistent
    • Virtual
      • Similar goals to Investigation projects (scientific knowledge production), but entirely ICT-mediated and different in several other respects
      • Example : Galaxy Zoo is classifying millions of galaxies by having volunteers judge galaxy characteristics in image recognition tasks
      • Scientific : replication is the primary validation method; online participation requires task design that is both useful and interesting
      • Organizational : organized by academics and supported by research funding; frequently indeterminate in duration
      • Technology : complex custom web platforms; supports reputation rewards, friendly competition, and performance feedback
    • Education
      • Education and outreach are the primary stated goals
      • Example : Fossil Finders investigates Devonian-age fossils by partnering paleontologists with primary school classrooms
      • Scientific : relative cost is high; wide range of scientific rigor; emphasis on scientific inquiry skills over scientifically valid results
      • Organizational : top-down partnerships with substantial funding; intended duration and sustainability questionable
      • Technology : online data entry is standard practice; content and functionality may differ for youth and adult audiences
    • Contributions & Implications
      • Contributions
        • Complementary to prior participation-based typologies
        • Identifies previously unrecognized class of projects
      • Implications
        • Guide sampling for future research with readily identifiable info
        • Suggests further inquiry into virtuality and task design
        • Provides examples of project designs and technologies as a resource for future development and evaluation
    • Limitations & Future Work
      • Limitations
        • Small sample
        • Secondary data
        • Qualitative analysis methods
      • Future work
        • Citizen science project survey using quantitative analysis methods
        • Case studies examining project types in greater depth
    • Questions?
      • Thanks!
      • Acknowledgements
        • NSF OCI Grant 09- 43049
        • Public Participation in Scientific Research reading group at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology
      • More
        • http://voss.syr.edu
        • awiggins@syr.edu, crowston@syr.edu