Working group for open biodiversity databases in citizen science
This working group is creating a catalogue of questions as a guide to assess the feasibility/logic in opening specific citizen science biodiversity databases.
Head: Florian Heigl, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
At the annual meeting of the Citizen Science Network Austria platform on 31 January 2018, the partners in attendance decided to set up a working group for open biodiversity databases.
The following points led us to get involved in this subject:
- An ethical dilemma occurs if data that has been collected together with the general public is stored as inaccessible.
- In certain support programme approaches, it will in future be more frequently requested that data collected as part of the project is made available as open data.
- The EU GDPR requires a revision and update of how we deal with personal data in the near future.
- The fact that this topic is being handled by project managers shows progressive thinking in the field of citizen science.
- If we present 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/).
And just for emphasis: the working group should not be an advocate for opening biodiversity databases. We want to objectively demonstrate which problems/challenges appear if databases are opened and which paths could be taken to protect self-interest and sensitive data, while still providing open data.
The following goals should be achieved in the working group:
- Creation of a catalogue of questions as a guide to assess the feasibility/logic in opening specific citizen science biodiversity databases (tested on existing and theoretical projects).
- An implementation report or case study from an Austrian citizen science project that opened its biodiversity database.
The catalogue of questions for project managers version 1.0 can be downloaded for free in German and English.