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Open-File Report 2013–1234

Community for Data Integration

Partnering for Science: Proceedings of the U.S. Geological Survey Workshop on Citizen Science

By Megan Hines, Abigail Benson, David Govoni, Derek Masaki, Barbara Poore, Annie Simpson, and Steven Tessler

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Executive Summary

What U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) programs use citizen science? How can projects be best designed while meeting policy requirements? What are the most effective volunteer recruitment methods? What data should be collected to ensure validation and how should data be stored? What standard protocols are most easily used by volunteers? Can data from multiple projects be integrated to support new research or existing science questions? To help answer these and other questions, the USGS Community of Data Integration (CDI) supported the development of the Citizen Science Working Group (CSWG) in August 2011 and funded the working group’s proposal to hold a USGS Citizen Science Workshop in fiscal year 2012.

The stated goals for our workshop were:

  • raise awareness of programs and projects in the USGS that incorporate citizen science,

  • create a community of practice for the sharing of knowledge and experiences,

  • provide a forum to discuss the challenges of—and opportunities for—incorporating citizen science into USGS projects, and

  • educate and support scientists and managers whose projects may benefit from public participation in science.

To meet these goals, the workshop brought together 50 attendees (see appendix A for participant details) representing the USGS, partners, and external citizen science practitioners from diverse backgrounds (including scientists, managers, project coordinators, and technical developers, for example) to discuss these topics at the Denver Federal Center in Colorado on September 11–12, 2012. Over two and a half days, attendees participated in four major plenary sessions (Citizen Science Policy and Challenges, Engaging the Public in Scientific Research, Data Collection and Management, and Technology and Tools) comprised of 25 invited presentations and followed by structured discussions for each session designed to address both prepared and ad hoc "big questions." A number of important community support and infrastructure needs were identified from the sessions and discussions, and a subteam was formed to draft a strategic vision statement to guide and prioritize future USGS efforts to support the citizen science community. Attendees also brainstormed proposal ideas for the fiscal year 2013 CDI request for proposals: one possible venue to support the execution of the vision.

First posted September 27, 2013

Revised March 25, 2015

For additional information contact:
Director, Core Science Analytics and Synthesis (CSAS)
U.S. Geological Survey
108 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

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Suggested citation:

Hines, Megan; Benson, Abigail; Govoni, David; Masaki, Derek; Poore, Barbara; Simpson, Annie; and Tessler, Steven, 2013, Partnering for Science; Proceedings of the USGS Workshop on Citizen Science (ver. 1.1, March 2015): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2013–1234, 51 p.,



Community for Data Integration



Origins of Citizen Science

Session Summary: Opening and Welcome

Session Summary: Policy and Challenges

Session Summary: Engaging the Public in Scientific Research

Session Summary: Data Collection and Management

Session Summary: Technology and Tools

Postworkshop Actions

References Cited

Appendix A. Participants

Appendix B. Plenary Session Abstracts

Appendix C. Posters

Appendix D. Workshop Agenda

Appendix E. Meeting Handouts

Appendix F. Resources on Volunteer Monitoring

Appendix G. Citizen Science Projects

Appendix H. Abbreviations and Glossary

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