CitSci India 2020 was a starting point to bring together the citizen science community in India under one platform to share experiences, inspire each other and engage in discussions related to citizen science in India. Two prominent topics that surfaced during these discussions were the importance of diversity and inclusion and that of citizen science data. As a result, two working groups were formed to catalyze the development of a toolkit for practitioners, project proponents and the larger community. Members of the working group are experts from the CitSci community, who have particular interest or have written/published work on data or inclusivity in citizen science related to biodiversity.
Working group on Diversity and Inclusion in Citizen Science
Citizen Science has been a remarkably successful endeavour worldwide. Large numbers of people take part in a wide array of projects on various aspects of biodiversity. Despite this success, we believe that the number of people engaged in citizen science in India is a small fraction of the potential because we have not adequately addressed issues of diversity and inclusion. There is a need to design citizen science activities to be more accessible to under-represented sections of society, and to diversify the roles that interested people can play.
Some well-known barriers to engaging with citizen science include (a) gender, (b) language, (c) access to technology, (d) perceptions of elitism, (e) socio-economic status, and many more, including various combinations of these. Further, the roles that people play in citizen science are largely as participants, but rarely as initiators or co-creators of projects.
The working group on Diversity and Inclusion in Citizen Science will identify major barriers to engaging with citizen science, and will come up with concrete recommendations and guidelines for the citizen science community to act upon.
The group has compiled an outline of what will be a white paper document. The document is a work-in-progress which will be completed and available to read on this page soon. View outline.
Working Group on Citizen Science Data: Considerations and better practice
Citizen science efforts in India and globally are generating unimaginable amounts of data on different aspects of biodiversity. This is clearly a good thing and should be celebrated. At the same time, it also raises a number of questions related to data, including ownership, accessibility, attribution, storage, interoperability, quality, and more. Citizen science projects sometimes (but not always) have specific policies related to a few (but usually not all) of these aspects. As a matter of good practice, it is best that project proponents clearly articulate, and participants (and other stakeholders) understand the data-related policies followed by a particular project.
The working group on Citizen Science Data has identified major aspects related to data on which project proponents should ideally have clear procedures and policies. The working group has surveyed existing global practices and standards and described various options that projects could adopt, with some guidance about benefits and costs to each option. The resultant document is a toolkit for citizen science practitioners who seek to take informed decisions on various aspects of data.
Read the published article here: Best Practices for Data Management in Citizen Science – An Indian Outlook