Competence centre LifeWatch Citizen Science

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LifeWatch CC menu: Introduction Community Meetings Task:Support Task:Ecological Observatories Task:Workflows and VLabs Task:Citizen Science
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Citizen Science

Task 4: Advanced Support to Citizen Science in Biodiversity Type of mini-project: Path finding Duration: 12 months Start: Project Start (March 2015) End: February 2016

Short name of participants NGI-ES (BIFI), JRU-LW-ES (IFCA/RJB) Person/months per participant: 11 3

Who is involved:

BIFI: Fermin Serrano, Francisco Sanz

IFCA: Jesus Marco, Fernando Aguilar

RJB: Francisco Pando

Other LW partners:

NEWS

Updated 15 June 2015

First skeleton for D4.1 and D4.2 posted

Next related meetings:

CSIC internal meeting in Madrid on 18th June

EGI-LW CC meeting at IFCA in Santander on 2-4 September


Objectives

The participation of citizens in scientific activities is a great opportunity to, simultaneously, improve our projects and make society aware of their importance. In fact, it is a priority of the European Commission for Horizon 2020: “With the aim of deepening the relationship between science and society and reinforcing public confidence in science, Horizon 2020 should favour an informed engagement of citizens and civil society on research and innovation matters by promoting science education, by making scientific knowledge more accessible, by developing responsible research and innovation agendas that meet citizens' and civil society's concerns and expectations and by facilitating their participation in Horizon 2020 activities”.

In particular, in the context of biodiversity and ecological research, citizen science can become a very relevant instrument. Citizen Science refers to the general public engagement in scientific research activities when citizens actively contribute to science either with their intellectual effort or surrounding knowledge or with their tools and resources. In this sense, citizens can be “used” for instance as human sensors, brains or resource providers.

There are many ongoing initiatives around the world, but the idea of this path-finding project is to explore a very ambitious possibility: offer a better support to the direct contribution of citizens contributing observation records, in particular those including sounds or images uploading. Existing basic assisted tools like http://www.snapshotserengeti.org/.to can be much evolved, and specifically the feasibility of automatic recognition, using recent techniques and the powerful computing resources available in EGI, will be analyzed. This initiative will be advised by the Spanish GBIF Node (LW-JRU-ES /Real Jardín Botánico-CSIC), which holds ample experience in the field. In order to reach these objectives, an additional task has to be carried out in parallel. This is the work to engage new citizens and to fulfil the interests and expectations of those that are already collaborating.

Description of work

  1. Task 4.1 (BIFI as NGI-ES + RJB/IFCA-CSIC as JRU-LW-ES): Updated analysis of ongoing initiatives on nature observation and selection of an example of framework to be supported from the DCC. There are several initiatives on nature observation that share some of the features we want to use about image/sounds uploading and analysis by the citizens, like for example http://www.inaturalist.org/, or http://www.ebird.org/. This task will analyse the framework of some of these initiatives and the possibility to integrate them with our objectives. This has the double advantage of reducing the development costs and of using a platform already known by the potential collaborators.
  2. Task 4.2 (BIFI+IFCA as NGI-ES): Exploration of pattern recognition tools that could benefit of EGI resources. This task will address the technical point of exploring the integration and deployment of pattern recognition tools on EGI specific resources, including for example servers with GPUs or other relevant hardware for image/sound recognition. Generic tools available in the market at different levels (like existing ones to identify grasshoppers, or bee identification from wing images) will be explored and considered, and an initial pack will be integrated and deployed. Tools considered will range from highly assisted, including support from experts or other citizen scientists, like in the inaturalist platform already cited, to fully automated. The results of the analysis will be taken into account to prepare future initiatives addressing the educational level.
  3. Task 4.3 (BIFI + RJB/IFCA-CSIC): Citizen engagement: outreach and inreach. This task will deal with attracting and retaining people who would be willing to contribute with their skills, time and effort to the project. This task will rely for sustainability on the collaboration with existing associations with long tradition and experience in the field. Using social networking features, collecting experiences of the collaborators, approaching institutions or involving schools will be some of the instruments to be used, plus actions for further dissemination through workshops, press, etc. The task will culminate both developments and general public engagement showing and evaluating the outcomes of the citizen science. A public participatory event oriented to bring tools, data and methods to the different stakeholders, in particular general public and younger students, is proposed as a demonstrator of the impact of these actions.


Deliverables/milestones

  1. D4.1 Updated analysis of ongoing initiatives on citizen science for Biodiversity and Ecosystems Research. File:EGI Engage LW-CC-D4.1 v01.pdf Type: Report. Due M3 (May 2015)
  1. D4.2 Initial list of actions oriented to citizen science using LW-DCC

File:EGI Engage LW-CC-D4.2 v01.pdf Type: Report, Due: M6 (Aug 2015)

  1. D4.3 Integration of assisted pattern recognition tools. Type: prototype. Due: M9 File:EGI Engage LW-CC-D4.3 v01.pdf

(Nov 2015)

  1. D4.4 Report on the success of citizen oriented initiatives and proposal for future work. Type: report. Due:M12 (Feb 2016)
  1. D4.5 Report of the public participatory event day. Type: report. Due: M12 (Feb 2016)