Head: Florian Heigl and Daniel Dörler, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna
Within the course of the annual platform meeting of "Österreich forscht" on 01.03.2017 the partners present decided to establish a working group on quality criteria for citizen science projects. This became necessary because due to new funding programmes and the meanwhile achieved level of awareness of citizen science, more and more projects consider themselves "citizen science", which also applied for inclusion in "Österreich forscht". Up to now, projects have been evaluated by the platform coordinators for consistency with the different definitions of citizen science before being accepted. In order to create criteria for the future that are as objective, comprehensible and above all transparent as possible, the working group for quality criteria was founded.
The working group consists of project managers and partners of "Österreich forscht" and is headed by Florian Heigl and Daniel Dörler. The aim is to develop a catalogue of minimum criteria that all projects on "Österreich forscht" must fulfil by the next Austrian Citizen Science Conference in Salzburg in February 2018. In addition, the criteria on "Österreich forscht" will be presented for everyone to examine. On the one hand, the developed criteria increase the quality of the citizen science projects on the platform and on the other hand offer citizens the certainty that all projects listed on "Österreich forscht" are carried out according to objective and comprehensible quality criteria.
From the moment the criteria are presented, all projects wishing to be listed on the platform must fulfil them. For projects already listed on the platform a transitional period applies, which will also be announced at the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2018. If already listed projects do not meet the criteria after the transitional period, they will be removed from the platform. How the review process should be designed will also be determined in the working group.
The criteria will be established in several steps. In the first step, a first draft of the various criteria will be prepared in the working group for quality criteria. Then all project managers and partners of "Österreich forscht" have time to read these criteria themselves, to comment on them and to provide feedback. This feedback is discussed by the working group and incorporated into a second version. During the entire process of developing the catalogue of quality criteria there will be a total of three feedback loops for project managers and partners of the platform. In addition, all project leaders and partners of the platform are free to become part of the working group at any time and thus to participate more intensively in shaping the criteria.
You can find our article on the quality criteria in the Nature scientific journal from 8 November 2017.
You can find our article on the quality criteria in the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) scientific journal from 23 April 2019. This also includes a Letter to the Editor by Auerbach et al., as well as our reply by Heigl et al.