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Digital citizen science platforms are prominent examples of modern volunteerism that provide people with opportunities to observe natural phenomena and to engage in scientific processes. In this study, we explore the values and motivations underlying sustained participation in digital citizen science projects through the lenses of two social psychology theories (Schwartz’s Human Values Theory and Self-Determination Theory). We present in-depth analyses of interviews with 15 long-term volunteers in two digital citizen science initiatives (Järviwiki and Safecast) that have been collecting environmental data for a decade in Finland and Japan. Our results advance the understanding of the values underpinning motivations. Our analyses show that openness-to-change values, such as self-direction, are important for initial participation, yet a diverse range of values, except for power, play a role in sustaining participation. Our study also shows that the values related to sustained participation are linked with extrinsic motivations, suggesting that when extrinsic motivators are self-directed, people will not only perform tasks willingly and enthusiastically but also in a sustained manner. Conceptualizing the behavioral continuum that drives volunteering actions provides practical insights that can assist the design, development, and evaluation of digital citizen science platforms.
Interest in citizen science has been increasing worldwide, accompanied by research oriented at identifying needs and recommending options for supporting the field. In this context, synthesising research on citizen science is becoming increasingly important. This short communication reviews recent findings in the New Zealand literature with a focus on community-based monitoring, and identifies considerations for supporting further growth of the citizen science field. The perspective offered here is that reducing barriers to participation is the surest way to maintain citizen science momentum, and that this will be assisted by a comprehensive understanding of diversity in the motivations for citizen science activities on the ground. Participant-focussed considerations are useful in both the research design stage and in the context of identifying methods for longer term support.
This paper describes some of the functions and tools offered by New Zealand’s national level citizen science portal ‘NatureWatch NZ’ (NWNZ). A wide variety of data can be collected and stored using NWNZ. Through providing a common database NWNZ supports data discoverability by the wider community although records can also be kept private if desired. To support the needs of groups who collect data, customised projects can set up with their own unique url and membership options. These and other features make NWNZ an excellent tool to support individuals or groups with their data collection needs. Although NWNZ is geared towards data collection and storage services, all records can be searched and viewed on a Google map at any time. For more sophisticated mapping and analysis NWNZ offers features to support interoperability. This is achieved through providing csv downloads of any dataset or search result. Data can also be provided directly to other web-based mapping products and analysis tools using the NWNZ API.