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Motivation crucial to citizen science, study finds

Citizen science can only be successful if the quality and reliability of the data are ensured and the citizens are kept motivated over a long period of time, a study has found.

Ideally, citizens who take part in scientific projects should be allowed to view research data while the project is ongoing, the study reported in the journal Ethology last month. Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the Konrad Lorenz Research Station at the University of Vienna were among those involved.

Citizens scientists should also contribute to the project—financially, for example—to ensure their continued motivation, it found. High data quality can be achieved by providing citizens with a good introduction to the tasks and methods involved, and through regular checks by the researchers. Strong cooperation with schools and the media was also mentioned as a good way to get citizens involved in scientific projects.

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