One of the often very time-intensive tasks when running a Citizen Science project is the validation of the gathered data. Is the user-provided information correct? Does the species classification work out? Is the location correct? The complexity of this task grows with the success of a Citizen Science project. When hundreds of new contributions are coming in per day in a country or on a global scale, checking and validating those large amounts of data is becoming difficult.
In the current expansion pack development of the SPOTTERON Platform, we provide tools for handling data well and saving time for the project team. With the now released "Community Data Validation" and "Moderator Check-Ins" features, the first two elements of supporting projects on the platform are available for all Citizen Science Apps.
All SPOTTERON Apps strongly focus on empowering the user community and integrating communication and interaction in Citizen Science. Tapping into the power of digital-social communities enables every user to help with data validation inside projects. A new user interface element allows participants to vote on the "quality" of a user contribution.
For every Spot, each user can cast one positive or negative vote if the data and classification are correct or not. With the ability to also tag data points as incorrect, the Community Data Validation tool can not only positively confirm project submissions but also make it possible for the user community to help with sorting out inaccurate data. The feature setup allows setting a custom score per project for two levels of data quality for best-possible adaptability across scientific fields or different data complexities.
For the role of trusted users in a project, the App's interface expands with a third button, allowing Data Moderator Users to validate a Spot with just a touch instantly. Connecting the Data Moderation feature with the new Validation interface extends further on the possibility to include Citizens and Experts on multiple levels.
The new App component has been put to public use broadly in Australia's ClimateWatch phenology and biodiversity monitoring project with great success over 3 days in a Data Validation Blitz. 106 Volunteers validated 2041 ClimateSpots for Earthwatch Australia in June 2022. Read more about the "Data Validation Blitz" in this linked Blog Post!
Experts need shortcuts. It is already possible on the SPOTTERON platform that the project team promotes users to " Data Moderators" in the platform's Data Administration Interface. The "Data Moderator" User Role allows such users to change data directly in the Citizen Science App and to correct information in data points. We have extended this user role further with the new "Moderator Data Check-Ins" interface element. Trusted community members, work colleagues, or external experts can now shortcut the Community Data Validation voting to instantly check-in and lock Spots with the tap of a button. This extension strengthens the role of in-App collaboration and supports handling a large amount of daily contribution.
But most importantly: it is also fun to do! Projects with a strong moderator user-base see ongoing data validations incoming, significantly reducing the time necessary for the project's team to check data points on their own manually. Trusted moderator users in the Citizen Science App feel more included in the project, and reviewing data points, especially in projects on natural sciences or biodiversity monitoring, is a satisfying routine.
Thanks to our core principle of sharing finished extensions among all projects on the SPOTTERON platform's technology ecosystem, your App can access these new features without any development costs. The functionalities can be activated in your Citizen Science toolkit right from your App's launch and bring more inclusion and community importance to your project while saving your team time.