Contentious approach or valid means of research? Will ‘crowd sourcing’ your research leave your projects wide open for criticism, invalidate research or create a richer set of data from a much broader audience?
Ms. Deborah Cleland -PhD Student at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University; Dr. Laurel Dyson – Senior Lecturer in Information Technology at the University of Technology Sydney; Dr. John La Salle – Director, Atlas of Living Australia; Ms. Kirsten Gottschalk – Human spokesperson for theSkyNet.
Dr John La Salle – it is a viable means of supporting research; he’d like to see more of a bi-directional role, and more about skilling up an interested group of people who could contribute at a higher level scientifically. Perhaps training materials, correct type of feedback, how to improve data, how decisions are made. Teams of volunteers involved with natural resource projects, etc. Over 400 different date providers, all characterised – can find where came from and what data there is. Citizen science can create a richer set of data than would otherwise be possible but risks studies being invalidated / criticised.
Kirsten Gottschalk – just needs people’s computers! Have met with resistance when first thought of it as a science communication idea, then after ten terabytes of data, minds have changed. Another example is Galaxy Zoo! Getting through a lot of stuff that you don’t have the time or resources to do.
Deborah Cleland – Do we have any capacity to do anything with 7000 islands if we don’t have citizens and communities involved, to get the data that’s required? Coral bleaching watch group, lots of Facebook groups and often spear-fishers will be the first to notice symptoms.
Dr Laurel Dyson – mobile technology is a huge opportunity - there’s a revolution in how it’s been reconfigured from the ‘information superhighway’ to the way it is now in the 21st century, where the most used websites are platform, user-generated content, made by mobile phones. Getting the word out to potential volunteers, such as baby-boomer generation. What reward volunteer groups can give – to show that what they’re doing is valued?