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Overcoming the challenges of public data archiving for citizen science biodiversity recording and monitoring schemes

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Public data archiving (PDA) is widely advocated as a means of achieving open data standards, leading to improved data preservation, increased scientific reproducibility, and transparency, as well as additional data use. Public data archiving was primarily conceived to archive data from short‐term, single‐purpose scientific studies. It is now more widely applied, including to large‐scale citizen science biodiversity recording and monitoring schemes which combine the efforts of volunteers with professional scientists. This may affect the financial security of such schemes by reducing income from data and analytical services. Communication between scheme organizers and researchers may be disrupted, reducing scientific quality and impeding scheme development. It may also have an impact on the participation of some volunteers. Synthesis and applications. In response to the challenges of public data archiving for citizen science biodiversity recording and monitoring schemes, the archive function of scheme organizations should be better recognized by those promoting open data principles. Increased financial support from the public sector or from commercial or academic data users may offset financial risk. Those in favour of public data archiving should do more to facilitate communication between nonscheme users and the originating schemes, while a more flexible approach to data archiving may be required to address potential impacts on volunteer participation.
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Keywords: biological recording; citizen science; data archiving; monitoring scheme; open data; quality assurance; volunteer

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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