Public Policy and Data Policy to support citizen science
Citizen Science and Public Policy
In December of 2013, the Obama Administration's Second Open Government National Action Plan called out citizen science as a tool to help agencies conduct scientific research, and otherwise achieve their missions.
Specifically, the National Action Plan states:
Recognizing the value of the American public as a strategic partner in addressing some of the country’s most pressing challenges, the United States will work to more effectively harness the expertise, ingenuity, and creativity of the American public by enabling, accelerating, and scaling the use of open innovation methods across the Federal Government, including commitments to:
In line with this directive, the Commons Lab within the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is committed to supporting federal citizen science and crowdsourcing to create a more informed and active citizenry, reach pubic policy goals, and advance key research objectives.
We offer a number of mechanisms to support federal citizen science. The Commons Lab Inventory will be the first collection of federal citizen science projects, and is designed to:
A list of research publications to support federal citizen science can be found here.
Citizen Science Data Policies
Data policies are important tools for supporting citizen science. Data policies clarify relationships between projects and volunteers, protecting projects against threats such as litigation. Well written policies also enable volunteers to make an informed decision about how and whether to share data, and enable greater forms of participation in research, like by analyzing shared data sets.
In 2013, I wrote a primer on citizen science data policy with Andrea Wiggins and Rob Stevenson that was published by DataONE. This primer breaks apart the data policy puzzle to help projects:
This primer is designed as practical advice to support project leaders. A longer discussion of data policies will be published in a forthcoming book on Citizen Science:
Bowser, A. & Wiggins, A. (2015). Legal, Ethical, and Policy Considerations of Citizen Science. To appear in Boyle, O., Vargo, M. & Lecpzyc, C., Eds., Citizen Science and Conservation: A Practitioners Guide. Berkeley: University of California Press.
A draft manuscript can be found here.
Are you a citizen science project coordinator looking for help with data policies? I offer complimentary consulting (not to be confused with legal advice). Contact me here.