Citizen science: great investment for scientists and agencies
FreshWater Watch research shows that citizen scientists can provide a high return on the investment made in training and feedback.
A recent study published in BioScience journal investigates the return on investment and benefits of training citizen scientists. The study also shows that FreshWater Watch citizen scientists can improve the spatial and temporal coverage of data collected by the UK Environmental Agency.
FreshWater Watch citizen scientists collected 14,000 datasets between May 2013 and April 2016, with Earthwatch leading 3,000 hours of training activity. This study shows that that return on time invested is more than nine hours of sampling time for each hour of training.
The researchers show how these returns on investment changed at the numerous study locations around the world. For example citizen scientists in Indonesia, Singapore and Canada were carrying out an average of 14 hours of sampling for every hour of training.
The countries where the most water quality data has been collected, the United Kingdom (2544), India (1855), China (1381) and Brazil (1257) lie in the middle of the range in terms of return on time invested.
You can find the study titled: The Citizen Science Opportunity for Researchers and Agencies in the BioScience journal, September 2016 edition.