Understanding citizen scientists’ concerns and motivations


Thursday, 3 August 2017

Citizen scientists play an important role in providing biodiversity data. It is therefore crucial to understand the concerns and motivations of voluntary recorders to ensure their continued enthusiasm and involvement.

A recently published study conducted amongst Dutch volunteer biodiversity recorders focused on characteristics of citizen scientists, their motivations, and views on data sharing and ownership. As foreseeable, interest and concern for nature and personal learning are the main motivations for engagement, but volunteer recorders have also high expectations regarding the impact of their data for science and management. The awareness of making a concrete contribution is an important motivator for investing time and efforts. This entails also the need of a proper communication with volunteers about the impact of their work. Data quality and data ownership are considered, as well as privacy issues, especially when data are georeferenced.

A new paradigm conceptualizing volunteer recorders as data custodians rather than owners or providers might help to understand their perspectives on data sharing, and emphasize the importance of clear and transparent data policy respecting their views.

Wessel Ganzevoort, Riyan J. G. van den Born, Willem Halffman, Sander Turnhout, 2017. Sharing biodiversity data: citizen scientists’ concerns and motivations. Biodiversity and conservation, Springer


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