IT is an important aspect of many citizen science projects, as they use internet platforms and mobile apps to communicate with participants and gather data. Data management is an integral part of these platforms and needs special consideration in citizen science projects as such project data have unique characteristics. The recommended reading and videos in this module will take you about 1 hour to complete.

iNaturalist case study (4 min)

One successful platform for citizen science biodiversity monitoring is iNaturalist. This short video introduces it and discusses the data collected.

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Recommended reading 

This is a detailed guide to data management needs in citizen science projects.

Wiggins, A. et al., 2013. Data Management Guide for Public Participation in Scientific Research. DataONE: Albuquerque, NM. Download it here

Video lecture

Data Management (10 min)

Prof Muki Haklay Part 1 IT in Citizen Science Data Management

Download the annotated slides here

Video lecture

Data Quality (10 min)

Prof Muki Haklay Part 2 IT in Citizen Science Data Quality

Download the annotated slides here

Video lecture

Citizen Science Platforms (8 min)

Prof Muki Haklay Part 3 IT in Citizen Science Data Platforms

Download the annotated slides here

Video lecture

The Data Management Cycle (16 min)

Luis Velasquez Part 4 IT in Cit Sci Data Management Cycle

Download the annotated slides here


Explore citizen science data 

OPAL (OPen Air Laboratories) is a UK-wide citizen science initiative that allows you to get hands-on with nature. The OPAL Data Explorer enables you to explore the data submitted to the platform - have a go and find out how many of your favourite organisms live in your neighbourhood!

FreshWater Links

On the FreshWater Links website, mentioned in the Case studies video lecture, you can explore data submitted not only by citizen scientists but also by other volunteer schemes and the Environment Agency. Try overlaying the different data sets and think about the added value of combining data sets from multiple sources on platforms such as these.

Further learning


Video Lecture - Case Studies (11 min)

Luis Velasquez Case Studies IT in Citizen Science

Download the annotated slides here

Further reading

Newman, G., Graham, J., Crall, A. and Laituri, M., 2011. The art and science of multi-scale citizen science support. Ecological Informatics, 6(3-4), pp.217-227. The paper provides an analysis of the data needs in different projects and scales, and demonstrate how these are being realised in the system

Simpson, R. 2014. Zooniverse: observing the world’s largest citizen science platform. You can find it here. 

Sturm, U. et al. 2017, Defining principles for mobile apps and platforms development in citizen science. RIO Journal. You can find it here. 

August, T. et al., 2015. Emerging technologies for biological recording. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115(3), pp.731-749. You can find it here.

Further learning

Introduction to Citizen Science & Scientific Crowdsourcing, UCL, extensive free online course about citizen science. You can find it here

Other modules

There are five modules in this course. You can follow them in order or pick the ones that interest you. 

Introduction to Citizen Science - an overview of the activities and practices that are included in citizen science

Environmental Citizen Science - zooming in on environmental applications and activities

Information Technology in Citizen Science - this module

Understanding Participant Motivation - addressing the common question of why people participate in citizen science

Evaluation - developing an appropriate evaluation for citizen science projects

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