Summary – Understanding Motivations for Citizen Science:
Citizen science plays an important role in delivering environmental data at local and national scales, and can form the basis of scientific research, as well as evidence for policy and management. Citizen science is also an important way of connecting people with nature, and has been used to help organisations communicate the importance of their work in the area of nature conservation. However, without an understanding of why and how people (nonprofessional volunteers) participate in citizen science, some initiatives could miss their mark and fail to provide the expected benefits to science and society. These social drivers of evidence-gathering by citizen scientists are often overlooked by stakeholders in favour of discussions around the need for and quality of the resulting data. This study explores the motivations of environmental-based citizen science participants and stakeholders from ‘science’, ‘policy’ and ‘practice’.
Summary – Citizen Science and Environmental Monitoring: Towards a Methodology for Evaluating Opportunities, Costs and Benefits:
The UK has a long history of volunteer involvement in monitoring the environment. This volunteer involvement, i.e citizen science, can complement, augment or even replace monitoring by contracted professionals. The UKEOF Citizen Science Working Group identified a need to understand more fully the potential for citizen science to support environmental monitoring programmes, and how to evaluate the relative costs and benefits of different approaches. Experts from WRc, CEH and Fera were contracted to undertake an analysis of the current and potential use of citizen science in environmental monitoring, and to develop a method for assessing the feasibility and viability of using citizen science. The project was conducted, between September 2015 and March 2016, and involved undertaking a survey to assess current volunteer engagement in governmental agencies and related bodies, a review of methodologies for valuing the contribution of citizen science and the development of an evaluation framework in the form of a spreadsheet tool for employing citizen science in environmental monitoring.