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Filter by keyword: Citizen science

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Jan 17, 2019 Article
Citizen science and the professional-amateur divide: lessons from differing online practices

by Liz Dowthwaite and James Sprinks

Online citizen science platforms increasingly provide types of infrastructural support previously only available to organisationally-based professional scientists. Other practices, such as creative arts, also exploit the freedom and accessibility afforded by the World Wide Web to shift the professional-amateur relationship. This paper compares communities from these two areas to show that disparate practices can learn from each other to better understand their users and their technology needs. Three major areas are discussed: mutual acknowledgement, infrastructural support, and platform specialisation. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of differing practices, and lessons that can be learnt for online citizen science platforms.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
Comparison of mouse and multi-touch for protein structure manipulation in a citizen science game interface

by Thomas Muender, Sadaab Ali Gulani, Lauren Westendorf, Clarissa Verish, Rainer Malaka, Orit Shaer and Seth Cooper

We developed a multi-touch interface for the citizen science video game Foldit, in which players manipulate 3D protein structures, and compared multi-touch and mouse interfaces in a 41-subject user study. We found that participants performed similarly in both interfaces and did not have an overall preference for either interface. However, results indicate that for tasks involving guided movement to dock protein parts, subjects using the multi-touch interface completed tasks more accurately with fewer moves, and reported higher attention and spatial presence. For tasks involving direct selection and dragging of points, subjects using the mouse interface performed fewer camera adjustments.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
Everyone counts? Design considerations in online citizen science

by Helen Spiers, Alexandra Swanson, Lucy Fortson, Brooke Simmons, Laura Trouille, Samantha Blickhan and Chris Lintott

Effective classification of large datasets is a ubiquitous challenge across multiple knowledge domains. One solution gaining in popularity is to perform distributed data analysis via online citizen science platforms, such as the Zooniverse. The resulting growth in project numbers is increasing the need to improve understanding of the volunteer experience; as the sustainability of citizen science is dependent on our ability to design for engagement and usability. Here, we examine volunteer interaction with 63 projects, representing the most comprehensive collection of online citizen science project data gathered to date. Together, this analysis demonstrates how subtle project design changes can influence many facets of volunteer interaction, including when and how much volunteers interact, and, importantly, who participates. Our findings highlight the tension between designing for social good and broad community engagement, versus optimizing for scientific and analytical efficiency.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
The role of digital user feedback in a user-centred development process in citizen science

by Ulrike Sturm and Martin Tscholl

In citizen science, user-centred development is often emphasised for its potential to involve participants in the development of technology. We describe the development process of the mobile app “Naturblick” as an example of a user-centred design in citizen science and discuss digital user feedback with regard to the users' involvement. We have identified three types of digital user feedback using qualitative content analysis: general user feedback, contributory user feedback and co-creational user feedback. The results indicate that digital user feedback can link UCD techniques with more participatory design approaches.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
What do volunteers want from citizen science technologies? A systematic literature review and best practice guidelines

by Artemis Skarlatidou, Alexandra Hamilton, Michalis Vitos and Mordechai Haklay

Although hundreds of citizen science applications exist, there is lack of detailed analysis of volunteers' needs and requirements, common usability mistakes and the kinds of user experiences that citizen science applications generate. Due to the limited number of studies that reflect on these issues, it is not always possible to develop interactions that are beneficial and enjoyable. In this paper we perform a systematic literature review to identify relevant articles which discuss user issues in environmental digital citizen science and we develop a set of design guidelines, which we evaluate using cooperative evaluation. The proposed research can assist scientists and practitioners with the design and development of easy to use citizen science applications and sets the basis to inform future Human-Computer Interaction research in the context of citizen science.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Editorial
User experience of digital technologies in citizen science

by Artemis Skarlatidou, Marisa Ponti, James Sprinks, Christian Nold, Mordechai Haklay and Eiman Kanjo

The growing interest in citizen science has resulted in a new range of digital tools that facilitate the interaction and communications between citizens and scientists. Considering the ever increasing number of applications that currently exist, it is surprising how little we know about how volunteers interact with these technologies, what they expect from them, and why these technologies succeed or fail. Aiming to address this gap, JCOM organized this special issue on the role of User Experience (UX) of digital technologies in citizen science which is the first to focus on the qualities and impacts of interface and user design within citizen science. Seven papers are included that highlight three key aspects of user-focused research and methodological approaches. In the first category, "design standards", the authors explore the applicability of existing standards, build and evaluate a set of guidelines to improve interactions with citizen science applications. In the second, "design methods", methodological approaches for getting user feedback, analysing user behaviour and exploring different interface designs modes are explored. Finally, "user experience in the physical and digital world" explores crossovers with other fields to improve our understanding of user experiences and demonstrate how design choices not only influence digital interactions but also shape interactions with the wider world.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Jan 17, 2019 Article
A sociotechnical system approach to virtual citizen science: an application of BS ISO 27500:2016

by Robert Houghton, James Sprinks, Jessica Wardlaw, Steven Bamford and Stuart Marsh

We discuss the potential application to virtual citizen science of a recent standard (BS ISO 27500:2016 “The human-centred organisation”) which encourages the adoption of a sociotechnical systems perspective across a wide range of businesses, organizations and ventures. Key tenets of the standard concern taking a total systems approach, capitalizing on individual differences as a strength, making usability and accessibility strategic objectives, valuing personnel and paying attention to ethical and values-led elements of the project in terms of being open and trustworthy, social responsibility and health and wellbeing. Drawing upon our experience of projects in our laboratory and the wider literature, we outline the principles identified in the standard and offer citizen science themed interpretations and examples of possible responses.

Volume 18 • Issue 01 • 2019 • Special Issue: User Experience of Digital Technologies in Citizen Science, 2019

Sep 26, 2018 Letter
Peer-reviewed publishing of results from Citizen Science projects

by Gabriele Gadermaier, Daniel Dörler, Florian Heigl, Stefan Mayr, Johannes Rüdisser, Robert Brodschneider and Christine Marizzi

Citizen science (CS) terms the active participation of the general public in scientific research activities. With increasing amounts of information generated by citizen scientists, best practices to go beyond science communication and publish these findings to the scientific community are needed. This letter is a synopsis of authors' personal experiences when publishing results from citizen science projects in peer-reviewed journals, as presented at the Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2018. Here, we address authors' selection criteria for publishing CS data in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as barriers encountered during the publishing process. We also outline factors that influence the probability of publication using CS data, including 1) funding to cover publication costs; 2) quality, quantity and scientific novelty of CS data; 3) recommendations to acknowledge contributions of citizen scientists in scientific, peer-reviewed publications; 4) citizen scientists' preference of the hands-on experience over the product (publication) and 5) bias among scientists for certain data sources and the scientific jargon. These experiences show that addressing these barriers could greatly increase the rate of CS data included in scientific publications.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Aug 06, 2018 Article
Science created by crowds: a case study of science crowdfunding in Japan

by Yuko Ikkatai, Euan McKay and Hiromi M. Yokoyama

“Science crowdfunding” is a research funding system in which members of the public make small financial contributions towards a research project via the Internet. We compared the more common research process involving public research funding with science crowdfunding. In the former, academic-peer communities review the research carried out whereas the Crowd Community, an aggregation of backers, carries out this function in the latter. In this paper, we propose that science crowdfunding can be successfully used to generate “crowd-supported science” by means of this Crowd Community.

Volume 17 • Issue 03 • 2018

Feb 06, 2018 Article
Appealing to different motivations in a message to recruit citizen scientists: results of a field experiment

by Tae Kyoung Lee, Kevin Crowston, Mahboobeh Harandi, Carsten Østerlund and Grant Miller

This study examines the relative efficacy of citizen science recruitment messages appealing to four motivations that were derived from previous research on motives for participation in citizen-science projects. We report on an experiment (N=36,513) that compared the response to email messages designed to appeal to these four motives for participation. We found that the messages appealing to the possibility of contributing to science and learning about science attracted more attention than did one about helping scientists but that one about helping scientists generated more initial contributions. Overall, the message about contributing to science resulted in the largest volume of contributions and joining a community, the lowest. The results should be informative to those managing citizen-science projects.

Volume 17 • Issue 01 • 2018