Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing Metadata Workshop Summary

Databases are compiled for a variety of different reasons and come in all different formats, metadata is critical to understanding the provenance and ability to share information across databases effectively. (Photo Credit: Michael Mandiberg, Flickr)

On July 9th & 10th, 2015, the Wilson Center’s Commons Lab in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, hosted a Citizen Science & Crowdsourcing Metadata Workshop.

Four databases of citizen science and crowdsourcing projects —  SciStarter, the Citizen Science Association (CSA),, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (the Wilson Center Commons Lab) — are working on a common project metadata schema to support data sharing with the goal of maintaining accurate and up to date information about citizen science projects.  The federal government is joining this conversation with a cross-agency effort to promote citizen science and crowdsourcing as a tool to advance agency missions. Specifically, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), in collaboration with the U.S. Federal Community of Practice for Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing (FCPCCS), is compiling an Open Innovation Toolkit containing resources for federal employees hoping to implement citizen science and crowdsourcing projects. Navigation through this toolkit will be facilitated in part through a system of metadata tags. In addition, the Open Innovation Toolkit will link to the Wilson Center’s database of federal citizen science and crowdsourcing projects. These groups became aware of their complementary efforts and the shared challenge of developing project metadata tags, which gave rise to the need of a workshop.

The results of the workshop included 30 fields describing citizen science project metadata (found in the Workshop Summary Appendix). Seven of the fields will be applied in a demonstration of data sharing between the four databases. However, the current list of project metadata tags requires expansion, especially around concepts related to crowdsourcing.

This publication is a summary of the results from the workshop and a definition of the collaboration moving forward. Click on this link to download the file.

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