Over the fall of 2013, organizations supporting citizen science came to a landmark agreement - to share basic information across databases that catalog citizen science projects. The collaborative success for citizen science and public participation in scientific research (PPSR) led to the development of the PPSR_CORE Program Data Model Metadata Standard / data sharing protocol. Sharing information across databases maximizes everyone's efforts, getting more "bang for the buck" out of information about citizen science projects everywhere. It leads to current, up-to-date, and synchronized project lists and a broader understanding about citizen science globally.

The Need

With the proliferation of citizen science, a number of organizations have been cataloging projects to offer support, network practitioners, and/or track outcomes. These efforts are complementary. Up-to-date information about citizen science projects is valuable to both project leaders and researchers, but the task of entering and maintaining this information in multiple places is cumbersome

The Significance

By agreeing to openly share core data fields about projects, the citizen science community benefits:

  • project leaders can add and edit information about their project in a single place of choice
  • project information can be shared and synchronized automatically across all participating databases
  • project updates in one database are reflected, in real time, across multiple databases serving a variety of purposes
  • those searching for projects can do so from any provider and be confident results contain the most up-to-date information

The Team

Several core founding organizations started the PPSR_CORE initiative (below) and we are now forming an international working group within the Citizen Science Association to continue this important work.

PPSR_CORE Metadata

Required Fields

Below are required metadata fields, formats, and descriptions.

ID Field Data Type Required Vocabulary Description

1

ProjectGUID

GUID

Y

 

A Globally Unique Identifier (GUID) for each PPSR project

2

ProjectName

text

Y

 

Name of project

3

ProjectDataProvider

text

Y

 

Name of data provider / source / initial first registry

4

ProjectDescription

text

Y

 

Description of project related to aspects such as goals, objectives, purpose, vision, etc. 

5

ProjectDateLastUpdated

ISO 8601 DateTime (UTC)

Y

 

Date the project information was last updated; (required in DBs but not in XML)

6

DatabaseContactName

Person Object / Construct

Y

 

Database contact first and last name

7

ProjectStatus

text / categorical

Y

Starting, active, complete, hiatus

Current status of the project activity

 

 

Optional Fields

Below are optional metadata fields, formats, and descriptions. 

ID Field Data Type Required Vocabulary Description

8

publicContact

Person Object/Construct

N

 

Person that interested public or researchers should contact

9

publicContactAffiliation

text

N

 

Public contact primary affiliation

10

publicContactEmail

text

N

 

Public contact email address 

11

publicContactPhone

text

N

 

Public contact phone number

12

publicContactAddress

text

N

 

Public contact mailing address

13

numParticipants

int

N

 

Total number of registered participants

14

projectActiveParticipantDefinition

text

N

 

Definition used by the project for an "active participant"

15

numActiveparticipants

int

N

 

Total number of active participants based on the project's definition of activity

16

participantAge

int

N

 

Age of participants (if known)

17

participantAudience_Scistarter

text

N

-- Select --

Target participants (defined by user research with Scistarter)

18

participantEducation

text

N

-- Select --

Type of education required for participation

19

educatorMaterials

text

N

 

Link(s) to project's teacher guides and/or note avaialbility in print form

20

participationTasks

text

N

-- Select --

Participation tasks

21

projectGear

text

N

 

Essential equipment for participation (tools, gear, field equipment, apps, Internet access, etc.)

22

fieldOfScience

text

N

-- Select --

General field of science. Top level categories defined by National Academies

23

projectInstitutionName

text

N

 

Institution or organization that is hosting the project

24

projectDataAPI

text / url

N

 

URL or API for current data

25

projectImage

image

N

 

Image

26

projectURL

text / url

N

 

URL for project home page

27

projectFacebook

text / url

N

 

URL for project Facebook page or group

28

projectTwitter

text / url

N

 

Project Twitter handle

29

projectBlog

text / url

N

 

URL for project blog

30

preferredSocialMedia

text / url

N

 

Preferred social media outlet (may or may not be listed above)

 

In Progress Fields

Discussion of the following metadata fields is an ongoing process. 

ID Field Data Type Required Vocabulary Description

31

ProjectStartYear

ISO 8601 Year (UTC)

N

 

Year project started (not date volunteers begin participation)

32

ProjectEndDate

ISO 8601 Date (UTC)

N

 

End date of project if applicable

33

ProjectOrganization

text

N

 

Organization supporting the project

34

ProjectPartners

text

N

 

List of project partners

35

ProjectScientificPartners

text

N

 

List of scientific collaborators; i.e. scientists or academic departments using the data collected

36

ProjectSector

text / categorical

N

-- Select --

Project sector description

37

ProjectGeospatialRange

text

N

-- Select --

To define active range - could be continental/state/province/counties/etc. Use the EML standard for inspiration?

38

ProjectCoverageBoundary

WKT data / many LL coordinates / Polygonal data

N

 

User-defined polygon

39

ProjectPinLatittude

floating point

N

 

Latitude coordinate in geographic decimal degrees for the center or home base of the project best representing the project's location as a point.

40

ProjectPinLongitude

floating point

N

 

Longitude coordinate in geographic decimal degrees for the center or home base of the project best representing the project's location as a point.

41

ProjectTags (or ProjectKeywords)

text

N

 

List of tags to assist with searching and filtering.

42

ProjectMetadata

text

N

 

Catch-all for any project-specific data administrators want to make available.

43

projectVolunteerSupport

text/ categorical

N

-- Select --

The training, communication, incentives, and other forms of support that a project offers its volunteers.