Principles and Guidelines for Citizen Science Apps and Platforms Development

On December 13 and 14, the European Citizen Science Association, the project Naturblick and Berlin’s Museum of Natural History hosted a workshop on defining principles and guidelines for best practice in development of web apps and platforms in citizen science. The two-day event brought together developers, practitioners and researchers with a great variety of backgrounds, who met in several working groups to discuss important aspects of interoperability and standards, user interface design and user experience, as well as outreach, learning and rewards for participation.

The workshop succeeded in defining first principles, which include (among others):

  • As far as possible, use existing apps and platforms if they are fit for your purpose.
  • Provide APIs for data sharing.
  • Always have your participants in mind when developing an app, as well as the context the app will be used in (outdoors etc.).
  • Provide easy-to-use ways for two-way communication between developers and participants.
  • Find ways for recruitment, but also for retainment of participants.
  • Volunteer management and care are important.
Goal of the process started with this workshop is to provide developers with concrete guidelines for app development for citizen science.