A well-known barrier to achieving the science and policy oriented goals of citizen science is the (real or perceived) quality of data generated by our efforts. Back in 2017, the Data and Metadata Working Group held a workshop on the topic of data quality in conjunction with the Citizen Science Association Conference. A testament to the interest in this topic, the room was filled to the brim! We brainstormed ways in which we could support the broader citizen science community. How could we work together to elevate the usefulness and use of citizen science data? What resources and services were needed? As a starting point, we decided we needed to:
a) assemble all of the resources…best practices guides, QAPP cookbooks, checklists etc.. that we could find in one place
Check! Here it is.
b) make that “resource of resources” available in a one-stop place
Check! Now linked to on the CSA website!
What to dive deeper? Have questions about data quality for your project? Join members of the Data/Metadata Working Group in a webinar on April 28th at 2pm EST. View Recording Here
We learned that there is a wealth of data quality resources already available, but wading through to figure out what might be most relevant for a particular purpose could be daunting. With the addition of some descriptive metadata, it could be simpler to filter and sort based on your need. Looking specifically for water quality related resources? Search for “water quality” in the keywords. Need guidance on techniques to evaluate data quality within your existing program? Choose resources that cover the “assure” stage of the data lifecycle. Creating a citizen science project and want your data to meet a legal standard? Search for “policy” in the keywords.
The Data Quality Resources for Citizen and Community Science compendium is intended to be a living library. Collated and described by a group of volunteers, it’s current form is a starting point and represents the resources we were able to identify at the time of its creation. We note that there are gaps in coverage representing some science areas, geographic/political contexts, and stages of the data lifecycle.
Citizen science spans nearly all disciplinary areas of science, but the majority of the resources that we found are focused on data quality considerations for water quality and biodiversity monitoring. Resources created by USA-based organizations are most prevalent and there are very few resources that address the later “preserve, discover, integrate and analyze” stages in depth. These gaps either represent a lack of existing resources (and an opportunity to fill a need) or we simply didn’t find them. We welcome new contributions and feedback and hope that this effort will make ensuring and evaluating data quality less daunting, and will catalyze development of new resources that fill gaps for our growing community.
How to contribute: Complete this form to add a resource to the document.