Association

Citizen Science Data Sharing APIS


Existing Data Sharing APIs

There are several Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in use across the growing citizen science community of practice that illustrate the value of sharing data and metadata in advancing the field of citizen science and public participation in scientific research. Please consider use of these APIs in your own applications! If you would like your own API to be discussed below please contact us.

SciStarter API

URL: https://scistarter.com/api
Applications:

  • Help your participants track and earn credit for their contributions
  • Help people find citizen science projects (embed the project finder widget)
  • Search for projects in SciStarter by topic, phrase, url, activity, or region
  • Add projects from your database to SciStarter

Examples:

  • CitSci.org uses the SciStarter API to allow its project managers to opt to automatically share project details (title, contact details, topic, keywords, photo/logo, etc.) with SciStarter and have their CitSci.org hosted project be automatically listed in the SciStarter database to improve recruitment and advance the field of citizen science. CitSci.org also helps track volunteer contributions and makes use of the SciStarter dashboard.
  • BioCollect – a tool developed by the Atlas of Living Australia – uses the SciStarter API to automatically add each of its projects to SciStarter to improve participant recruitment, advance the field of citizen science, and display visually on maps and in directories projects that may be of interest to site visitors that occur outside of Australia for sharing in its project finder.
  • The Crowd and the Cloud makes use of the SciStarter Project Finder API to allow its website visitors to easily find a project they wish to participate in and get started.

CitSci.org API

URL: http://www.citsci.org/cwis438/websites/citsci/API_Doc.php?WebSiteID=7
Applications:

  • Make use of CitSci.org for hosting and sharing and visualizing your citizen science projects and observations
  • Add observations to your CitSci.org hosted citizen science projects from your own mobile applications (apps)

Examples:

  • Bloomwatch uses the CitSci.org API to upload observations of algal blooms to their citsci.org project for subsequent sharing, visualization, analysis, and data management and long term storage
  • Western Algal Tracking Resource (WATR) developed a mobile app that uses the CitSci.org API to upload and share algal bloom photos with others via its CitSci.org project and leverages the CitSci.org back end for hosting its citizen science project

iNaturalist API

URL: https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/api+reference
Applications:

  • Get observations of biodiversity from the iNaturalist platform
  • Post observations of biodiversity to the iNaturalist platform

Examples:

  • CitSci.org is working to use the iNaturalist API to share species observations made on the CitSci.org platform with the iNaturalist community to crowd source the improvement of its species observations taxonomic classifications to help attain research grade status for projects not use expert verification approaches in their protocols. This sharing capability will allow project managers using CitSci.org to make use of the iNaturalist community to gain greater confidence in their own volunteer species identifications.

These are just a few of the existing APIs available and some details of creative uses of these services that can add value to your citizen science projects, web applications, mobile apps, project listings, and platforms. These examples illustrate the value to developers, scientists, practitioners, and citizen scientists themselves in the development of standards that make such data sharing and API development more easy to accomplish and more valuable to the growing community of practice. The CSA Data & metadata Working Group encourages the use and development of these types of APIs and applications of their use broadly to advance and streamline the work we are all doing to make citizen science great. Please let us know if you have developed an API for broad use by the citizen science community and would like us to document its location, use, applications, and value.