How research is being transformed by open data and AI | Popular Science

“How iNaturalist can correctly recognize (most of the time, at least) different living organisms is thanks to a machine-learning model that works off of data collected by its original app, which first debuted in 2008 and is simply called iNaturalist. Its goal is to help people connect to the richly animated natural world around them. 

The iNaturalist platform, which boasts around 2 million users, is a mashup of social networking and citizen science where people can observe, document, share, discuss, learn more about nature, and create data for science and conservation. Outside of taking photos, the iNaturalist app has extended capabilities compared to the gamified Seek. It has a news tab, local wildlife guides, and organizations can also use the platform to host data collection “projects” that focus on certain areas or certain species of interest. 

When new users join iNaturalist, they’re prompted to check a box that allows them to share their data with scientists (although you can still join if you don’t check the box). Images and information about their location that users agree to share are tagged with a creative commons license, otherwise, it’s held under an all-rights reserved license. About 70 percent of the app’s data on the platform is classified as creative commons. “You can think of iNaturalist as this big open data pipe that just goes out there into the scientific community and is used by scientists in many ways that we’re totally surprised by,” says Scott Loarie, co-director of iNaturalist. …

But with an ever-growing amount of data, our ability to wrangle these numbers and stats manually becomes virtually impossible. “You would only be able to handle these quantities of data using very advanced computing techniques. This is part of the scientific world we live in today,” Durant adds….

Another problem that researchers have to consider is maintaining the quality of big datasets, which can impinge on the effectiveness of analytics tools. This is where the peer-review process plays an important role….”

 

Citizen seismology helps decipher the 2021 Haiti earthquake

Abstract:  The August 14, Mw7.2, Nippes earthquake in Haiti occurred within the same fault zone as its devastating, Mw7.0, 2010 predecessor but struck the country when field access was limited by insecurity and conventional seismometers from the national network were inoperative. A network of citizen seismometers installed in 2019 provided near-field data critical to rapidly understand the mechanism of the mainshock and monitor its aftershock sequence. Their real-time data define two aftershock clusters that coincide with two areas of coseismic slip derived from inversions of conventional seismological and geodetic data. Machine learning applied to data from the citizen seismometer closest to the mainshock allows us to forecast aftershocks as accurately as with the network-derived catalog. This shows the utility of citizen science contributing to the understanding of a major earthquake.

 

When a seismic network failed, citizen science stepped in | Ars Technica

“On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck about 16 miles west of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. Among the most significant seismic disasters recorded, more than 100,000 people lost their lives. The damage—costing billions of dollars—rendered more than a million people homeless and destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure. The earth tore at the relatively shallow depth of about 8 miles, toppling poorly constructed buildings.

At the time, Haiti had no national seismic network. After the devastating event, scientists installed expensive seismic stations around the country, but that instrumentation requires funding, care, and expertise; today, those stations are no longer functional. In 2019, seismologists opted to try something different and far less expensive—citizen seismology via Raspberry Shakes.

On the morning of August 14, 2021, amidst a summer of COVID-19 lockdowns and political unrest, another earthquake struck, providing the opportunity to test just how useful these Raspberry-pi powered devices could be. In a paper published on Thursday in Science, researchers described using the Raspberry Shake data to demonstrate that this citizen science network successfully monitored both the mainshock and subsequent aftershocks and provided data integral to untangling what turned out to be a less-than-simple rending of the earth….”

NUI Galway Open Scholarship Week 2022, April 11-12, 2022

Our annual NUI Galway Open Scholarship Week is now in its fourth year! #OSW2022 is an exciting and innovative event that will bring together researchers, academics, educators, policymakers and students to highlight and showcase what Open Scholarship is and how it can be achieved, to work together towards creating knowledge that is open and accessible to all. Events will target several elements of Open Scholarship, including Open Data, Open Access, Open Education and Citizen Science.

OSW 2022 is organised by the NUI Galway Library in partnership with the Open Scholarship Community Galway (OSCG). OSW 2022 also welcomes the contributions of our partners at the Atlantic Technological University. The programme is put together by our Organising Committee of volunteers.

Open Scholarship is all about collaboration and lowering barriers to research and learning. Everyone is welcome! All events on 11 April will be virtual while on 12th April we have a mix of online and in person sessions. All events are free!

 

AVONET: morphological, ecological and geographical data for all birds – Tobias – 2022 – Ecology Letters – Wiley Online Library

Abstract:  Functional traits offer a rich quantitative framework for developing and testing theories in evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystem science. However, the potential of functional traits to drive theoretical advances and refine models of global change can only be fully realised when species-level information is complete. Here we present the AVONET dataset containing comprehensive functional trait data for all birds, including six ecological variables, 11 continuous morphological traits, and information on range size and location. Raw morphological measurements are presented from 90,020 individuals of 11,009 extant bird species sampled from 181 countries. These data are also summarised as species averages in three taxonomic formats, allowing integration with a global phylogeny, geographical range maps, IUCN Red List data and the eBird citizen science database. The AVONET dataset provides the most detailed picture of continuous trait variation for any major radiation of organisms, offering a global template for testing hypotheses and exploring the evolutionary origins, structure and functioning of biodiversity.

 

Press Release — LIBER Signs MoU with the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA)  – LIBER Europe

“LIBER, the Association of European Research Libraries, and the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA), have, as per the 20th of January 2022, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop, promote and facilitate citizen science-related support services at research libraries within Europe. …”

Frontiers | Sounding the Call for a Global Library of Underwater Biological Sounds | Ecology and Evolution

Abstract:  Aquatic environments encompass the world’s most extensive habitats, rich with sounds produced by a diversity of animals. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) is an increasingly accessible remote sensing technology that uses hydrophones to listen to the underwater world and represents an unprecedented, non-invasive method to monitor underwater environments. This information can assist in the delineation of biologically important areas via detection of sound-producing species or characterization of ecosystem type and condition, inferred from the acoustic properties of the local soundscape. At a time when worldwide biodiversity is in significant decline and underwater soundscapes are being altered as a result of anthropogenic impacts, there is a need to document, quantify, and understand biotic sound sources–potentially before they disappear. A significant step toward these goals is the development of a web-based, open-access platform that provides: (1) a reference library of known and unknown biological sound sources (by integrating and expanding existing libraries around the world); (2) a data repository portal for annotated and unannotated audio recordings of single sources and of soundscapes; (3) a training platform for artificial intelligence algorithms for signal detection and classification; and (4) a citizen science-based application for public users. Although individually, these resources are often met on regional and taxa-specific scales, many are not sustained and, collectively, an enduring global database with an integrated platform has not been realized. We discuss the benefits such a program can provide, previous calls for global data-sharing and reference libraries, and the challenges that need to be overcome to bring together bio- and ecoacousticians, bioinformaticians, propagation experts, web engineers, and signal processing specialists (e.g., artificial intelligence) with the necessary support and funding to build a sustainable and scalable platform that could address the needs of all contributors and stakeholders into the future.

South Africa’s draft open science policy promises shake-up – Research Professional News

“All publicly-funded research conducted in South Africa will have to be published in open access journals under a draft national open science policy released this week.

The draft was published on 15 February by the Academy of Science of South Africa, ahead of a workshop to discuss it on 22 February. It was drawn up under the leadership of Ahmed Bawa, the chief executive of Universities South Africa….

The draft policy suggests the establishment of a “national forum” to promote best practice in open science. Researchers will also be offered as-yet unspecified incentives to encourage them to publish in open-access journals….

The policy recommends that a national agency be established to curate publicly-funded research data. Also on the cards is a “federated open science infrastructure” which will make it easier for everyone to access research outputs….

The use of (not) defining Citizen Science – Citizen Science | CS Track Project

“Even among researchers who are highly specialised on the topic there is no consensus about what exactly citizen science means. Funding agencies and policy makers also use it in various different ways:: “[…] no central authority or governing body oversees the field, and even agreeing about who counts as a citizen scientist is challenging.” (Rasmussen and Cooper, 2019, p. 1) But while there is a broad consensus that the term is fuzzy, the question whether it should be defined at all remains controversial….”

The use of (not) defining Citizen Science – Citizen Science | CS Track Project

“Even among researchers who are highly specialised on the topic there is no consensus about what exactly citizen science means. Funding agencies and policy makers also use it in various different ways:: “[…] no central authority or governing body oversees the field, and even agreeing about who counts as a citizen scientist is challenging.” (Rasmussen and Cooper, 2019, p. 1) But while there is a broad consensus that the term is fuzzy, the question whether it should be defined at all remains controversial….”

Engaging people with lived experience in peer review: Expanding the role of citizen reviewers – Jaggers – 2021 – Alzheimer’s & Dementia – Wiley Online Library

Abstract Background Research shows that including the voices of people with lived experience (PWLE) in the full research process ensures that the research is both relevant and meaningful in real-life contexts. However, operationalizing this in a meaningful way can be challenging, particularly in the context of dementia. Since 2014, the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) has included PWLE in the Alzheimer Society Research Program’s (ASRP) peer review process through the role of the citizen reviewer, however, this has been limited in scope. In 2019, a pilot study expanded this role to a broader panel of citizen reviewers who are equal participants in the peer review process, scoring applications and providing valuable contextual feedback. In 2020, this process was further formalized, allowing greater participation and enhanced engagement. Method Qualitative feedback was collected from panelists following the 2019 pilot which demonstrated a collective desire to improve overall engagement while formalizing a systematic process. The data was thematically assessed and used to create several resources to recruit, maintain, and train citizen reviewers as equal and valued participants in the peer review process. This was conducted within the context of the pandemic, in which the full process was adapted to a virtual peer review process. Result Data from the 2019 pilot resulted in a four-step process for recruitment, orientation, and training of citizen reviewers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with potential candidates, followed by a comprehensive orientation package, and a virtual orientation session designed for PWLE that included role playing and case studies. Lastly, technical support meetings were created to support the virtual nature of the process. Twenty-five citizen reviewers were recruited, an increase of 44% participation from the previous year. This, in turn, has led to the creation of a new resource guide for engaging PWLE in peer review, which demonstrates how to operationalize meaningfully engaging and valuing the experiences of people living with dementia. Conclusion The pilot and subsequent expansion of the citizen reviewer role has created a new way to operationalize lived experiences within the research funding process. While requiring significant upfront work, the value of real-life experience in prioritizing research is unparalleled.

Why citizen review might beat peer review at identifying pursuitworthy scientific research – ScienceDirect

“Highlights

 

• Citizen review should be considered alongside peer review and lotteries as a method for allocating scientific grants.
• Drawing grant reviews from the lay population may do better at identifying pursuitworthy research than peer review does.
• Citizen review also improves trust in science and science communication.”

 

Eight components for ‘open social science’ – An agenda for cultural change | British Politics and Policy at LSE

“The open science movement has been gathering force in STEM disciplines for many years, and some of its procedural elements have been adopted also by quantitative social scientists. However, little work has yet been done on exploring how more ambitious open science principles might be deployed across both the qualitative and quantitative social science disciplines. Patrick Dunleavy sets out some initial ideas to foster a cultural shift towards open social science, explored in a current CIVICA project.”

How Online Citizen Science Games Could Bring More Diversity to the Research Industry

“Philanthropy and foreign aid are meant to transform socioeconomic-political systems, not just provide charity to those in need. In this vein, citizen science games are creating a new model for how to conduct scientific research while also promoting open science, where advancements are freely shared….”

Eight components for ‘open social science’ – An agenda for cultural change | Impact of Social Sciences

“The open science movement has been gathering force in STEM disciplines for many years, and some of its procedural elements have been adopted also by quantitative social scientists. However, little work has yet been done on exploring how more ambitious open science principles might be deployed across both the qualitative and quantitative social science disciplines. Patrick Dunleavy sets out some initial ideas to foster a cultural shift towards open social science, explored in a current CIVICA project….”