Working group for open biodiversity databases in citizen science
Head: Florian Heigl, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
During the annual platform meeting of the Citizen Science Network Austria on 31.01.2018, the participating partners decided to establish a working group on open biodiversity databases.
The following points have encouraged us to deal with this topic:
- An ethical dilemma arises when data that has been collected together with the population is stored in a locked database.
- In the future, certain funding programs will often require that the data collected in the course of the project be made available as open data.
- The EU GDPR requires us to reconsider and update our handling of personal data in the near future.
- Consideration of the topic on the part of the project operators shows the progressive thinking in the field of citizen science.
- If we identify the challenges/problems together, it is easier to find arguments for/against opening the databases in citizen science projects.
- Technical developments in the field of infrastructure offer new opportunities to publish research data (e.g.https://www.gbif.org/).
Just to emphasize: the WG should not be a missionary for the opening of biodiversity databases. We want to show objectively which problems/challenges will arise if the databases are opened and which ways there might be to protect vested interests or sensitive data on protected goods and still openly provide data.
The following goals are to be achieved in the working group:
- Development of a questionnaire to help assess the feasibility/sensitivity of opening specific citizen science biodiversity databases (tested in existing and theoretical projects).
- An implementation report or case study from an Austrian citizen science project that opened its biodiversity database.
Catalogue of questions for project managers
The catalogue of questions for project managers version 1.0 can be downloaded for free in German and English.