Citizen Science: What is in it for the Official Statistics Community?

Proden, E., Fraisl, D. ORCID:, & See, L. ORCID: (2023). Citizen Science: What is in it for the Official Statistics Community? Citizen Science: Theory and Practice 8 (1) e35. 10.5334/cstp.584.

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Project: Citizen Science for Monitoring Climate Impacts and Achieving Climate Resilience (Crowd4SDG, H2020 872944)


Citizen science data are an example of a non-traditional data source that is starting to be used in the monitoring of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for national monitoring by National Statistical Systems (NSSs). However, little is known about how the official statistics community views citizen science data, including the opportunities and the challenges, apart from some selected examples in the literature. To fill this gap, this paper presents the results from a survey of NSS representatives globally to understand the key factors in the readiness of national data ecosystems to leverage citizen science data for official monitoring and reporting, and assesses the current awareness and perceptions of NSSs regarding the potential use of these data. The results showed that less than 20% of respondents had direct experience with citizen science data, but almost 50% felt that citizen science data could provide data for SDG and national indicators where there are significant data gaps, listing SDGs 1, 5, and 6 as key areas where citizen science could contribute. The main perceived impediments to the use of citizen science data were lack of awareness, lack of human capacity, and lack of methodological guidance, and several different kinds of quality issues were raised by the respondents, including accuracy, reliability, and the need for appropriate statistical procedures, among many others. The survey was then used as a starting point to identify case studies of successful examples of the use of citizen science data, with follow-up interviews used to collect detailed information from different countries. Finally, the paper provides concrete recommendations targeted at NSSs on how they can use citizen science data for official monitoring.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: citizen science dataNational Statistical OfficesNational Statistical SystemsSustainable Development Goalsquality assurance
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2023 08:38
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2023 08:38

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