New project: Data submission within citizen science projects

This month Rachel, Alison and I started an exciting new piece of work looking at data submission within citizen science projects. This is a really important piece of work because hundreds of thousands of people across the UK are taking part in environmental citizen science projects, surveying sites for wildlife and passing this information on to scientists and others who can use it to better understand our environment. BUT, experience from the OPAL project suggests that many people take part in these surveys but then don’t submit their data anywhere.

Looking for wildlife is one part of doing citizen science projects such as the UK Ladybird Survey (photo from BBC)

Looking for wildlife is one part of doing citizen science projects such as the UK Ladybird Survey (photo from BBC)

We want to explore why people do, and don’t, submit their data, and as we’re working closely with the OPAL team at Imperial, we hope to be able to put our findings straight into practice in order to make any necessary improvements to the data submission process. So, we’ve developed a short Survey Monkey questionnaire, which should take 5 minutes to complete, for people who have done an OPAL survey – it can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KWPHYJF

The other part to this research is a large face-to-face survey, which is being conducted by a marketing company, who are asking a representative sample of people across the UK whether they have taken part in any citizen science projects, and then asking the same questions as in the OPAL questionnaire. This will allow us to put our findings from the OPAL questionnaire into the wider environmental citizen science context.

We’ll report on findings in this blog when they are available this summer.