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New Publication Opportunity! Citizen Science Data and Methods


In connection with the joint WDS–CODATA TG on Citizen Science for the SDGs and its predecessor on Validation, Curation, and Management of Crowdsourced Data, it is a pleasure to announce a new publication opportunity—a Research Topic on Citizen Science Data and Methods, a 'Special Issue', published by the leading open-access journal Frontiers and with the following guest editors:

  • Anne Bowser (Wilson Center)
  • Alex de Sherbinin (WDS-SC Chair; NASA SEDAC [WDS Regular Member])
  • Sven Schade (European Commission, Joint Research Centre)

About this Research Topic (Special Issue)

This Research Topic publishes comprehensive, peer-reviewed information on citizen science methods and datasets.

In citizen science, members of the public contribute to authentic scientific research to meet real-world goals. Citizen science is a perspective, or a way of doing research, that crosses scientific disciplines ranging from astronomy to biology, to public health, and also the social and behavioral sciences. Citizen science initiatives are run by researchers in academic institutions, government agencies, non-profits, community-based groups, and individuals. With its rich portfolio of activities, citizen science helps in creating valuable scientific datasets in multiple ways.

This is a Research Topic for citizen science researchers, practitioners, and volunteers to publish their data. For the purpose of this Research Topic, a dataset is defined as a collection of similar data, sharing a structure, which covers a fixed period of time. The mission of this Research Topic is to advance citizen science and broader open science agendas by making data more findable, better documented, and ultimately reusable. The collection will accomplish this mission by inviting authors to submit information about their dataset, including information about data collection methodologies relevant to data quality assurance and data quality control (QA/QC) practices; facilitating a peer-review process; publishing reviewed submissions along with the outcomes of peer review; and, assigning each publication a Digital Object Identifier (DOI).

This collection is open to the following two article types:

  • Methods: submissions describing the data collection process, QA/QC management plan, and similar strategies used for producing data that is fit for use in research or policy.
  • Data Report: providing detailed information about an already collected citizen science dataset and documenting the dataset to facilitate reuse by other research and policy initiatives.

During the submission process, authors will submit their data collection Methods or Data Report through the Frontiers platform. In addition, authors who submit data reports must complete a short form to collect additional information including metadata and a URI pointing to the location of their data in an open repository. Datasets that are not hosted in an open repository cannot be reviewed at this time. Please follow this link to access our template for the supplementary information for datasets.

The Editorial Boards of the affiliated journals for this Research Topic acknowledge and represent three types of expertise: knowledge of the field of citizen science (including effective practices related to data collection, sharing, and use), knowledge of key constructs related to data and information management (including data quality and interoperability), and knowledge of different scientific research domains. Each submission will be evaluated by at least one reviewer with knowledge on citizen science or data and information, and one reviewer with knowledge of the relevant scientific research domains.

This Research Topic, Open Citizen Science Data and Methods, was launched on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, in alignment with Earth Challenge 2020. One priority of this collection will be to showcase datasets related to the six Earth Challenge 2020 research areas:

  1. Air quality
  2. Water quality
  3. Insect populations
  4. Plastics pollution
  5. Food security
  6. Climate change

This Research Topic takes the perspective that the analysis and discussion of research conducted through citizen science methodologies should be published in appropriate disciplinary journals. In addition, research on how to conduct citizen science, or “the science of citizen science,” should be published in journals such as Citizen Science: Theory and Practice.

Additional Information on Publication Costs

Frontiers is an open-access publisher with a commitment to open science. Many institutions have agreements with Frontiers around publication costs. In addition, to promote the publication of citizen science data and methods representing a wide range of perspectives, the journal has agreed to waive a handful of publication fees when such fees are prohibitive to publishing.

For more information and details, see here.