4 September 2011

Public participation is good for science (and impact assessment)

A review of a decade of environmental citizen science – where the general public are involved in science as researchers – concludes that its benefits to science and society far outweigh concerns over data quality. Challenges can be overcome through volunteer training and should not be used to devalue citizen science programmes, say the researchers. Community-Based Monitoring (CBM) schemes have increased in popularity worldwide over the last decade. The two main types are: (i.) population monitoring, where non-expert citizens collect species data on birds, fish, amphibians and plants, or (ii.) ecosystem monitoring, where they monitor processes, such as water and air pollution.In the new study, scientists carried out an extensive review of published scientific research, official websites and non-academic literature to assess the contribution of CBM programmes to environmental programmes in the last decade.

Article: Conrad, C.C & Hilchey, K. G. (2011). A review of citizen science and community-based environmental monitoring: issues and opportunities. Environmental Monitoring Assessment. 176: 273-291.

Summary: http://tinyurl.com/3odfkrd