Joint Research Centre
Digital Earth Lab

The JRC contributes to scientific and technical debates about Citizen Science data and service interoperability. Whereas Citizen Science projects keep producing data and knowledge world-wide, the curation, integration and combined use of the results pose major issues due to heterogeneous approaches – within and across single research disciplines. Experts from Europe, the United States and Australia decided to jointly investigate the crucial barriers, share best practices and identify appropriate means for knowledge and data exchange.

Source: Emmanouela Panteri

Following feedback received from JRC’s 2015 survey about the data management in Citizen Science projects, and a series of discussions at Citizen Science events in the same year, the JRC co-organized a half-day workshop on Citizen Science Data and Service Infrastructures in conjunction with the General Assembly of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) in October 2015, in Barcelona, Spain.

The approximately 40 meeting participants confirmed that growing need for data sustainability and requested the development for a robust and flexible reference architecture, and increased knowledge exchange between Citizen Science projects. The final proceedings of this event are under preparation.

The meeting resulted in a draft roadmap for the desired activities, identifies first already available reference models, and commitments for collecting relevant material and providing synthesis reports from a literature and project review. This included the agreement for joint work in an international Data and Metadata Working Group [1] [2]. The JRC joined this group with the particular intention to interconnect EU-funded Citizen Science project with related projects that are financed otherwise. This should lead to the interconnection of the Archive for EU-funded Citizen Science projects with, for example, the US catalogue for federal funded Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing projects hosted by the Wilson Center, the Atlas of Living Australia and SciStarter.

In order to strengthen the collaboration and to accelerate the joint work, the JRC invited 20 experts for a two day workshop (26 & 27 January 2016) to their premises in Ispra, Italy. Apart from representatives of the JRC and DG Research and Innovation (RTD), the participants also included members of EU-funded projects (Citizens’ Observatories, EU BON, ENERGIC COST Action, Mapping and the Citizen Science COST Action, etc.), ECSA, the North American Citizen Science Association (CSA) and the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA). The participants were challenged to:

  • identify the major requirements for Citizen Science project repositories and their relation to existing Citizen Science platforms; 
  • draft a reference model for analysing and sharing Citizen Science tools and data – with first examples;
  • define a high-level roadmap with checkpoints for synchronising already ongoing activities.

Amongst other, the discussions helped shaping the Archive for EU-funded Citizen Science projects, served as inspiration for creating this web page (the Citizen Science Platform), and to identify synergies for future action. For more material and impressions see [3] [4] [5].