Citizen Science Domain Working Group


The primary goal of the Citizen Science DWG is to support the citizen science community, both within and external to OGC, by promoting and facilitating interoperability. A secondary goal is to collaborate with other OGC working groups, to help increase impact of citizen science data.

Project Scope

There are a large and increasing number of citizen science projects active around the world involving the public in environmental monitoring and other scientific research activities. The OGC Citizen Science DWG is motivated to support citizen science by providing a forum for increasing understanding and demonstration of the benefits brought by the use of open standards and best practices. This DWG will support the development of improved interoperability arrangements for the citizen science community.


The concept of citizen science, as delineated in this charter, is identified as a form of “public participation in scientific research,” resonating with the definitions provided by various organizations and thought leaders. The Citizen Science Association describes it as the public’s involvement in scientific research, ranging from local to global scales. Wikipedia aligns with this by defining citizen science as scientific work conducted by the general public, often in collaboration with professional scientists and institutions. Irwin’s perspective adds a dimension of scientific citizenship, emphasizing the need to democratize science and its policymaking processes. Despite its vast potential, a challenge within citizen science is the fragmentation of data, where similar data collected across different locations lead to disparate datasets rather than cohesive and broadly useful ones. To maximize the impact on both research and public policy, it’s crucial for data from localized citizen science projects to be reusable at larger scales, transcending their original collection purpose.

Progress towards standardization in citizen science has been notable, with efforts such as the U.S. Citizen Science Association’s coordination with European and Australian counterparts focusing on project metadata standardization to enhance interoperability. Yet, the challenge of interoperability for observational data remains. Building on the Citizen Observatory Web project and the shared objectives of various citizen science associations, the OGC Citizen Science DWG seeks to unite users, data, service and technology providers, and standardization bodies to address the full spectrum of interoperability as it pertains to the data life cycle. This includes hardware communication, data acquisition, storage, dissemination, curation, and preservation, while also navigating critical issues such as privacy, security, trust, and the quality and semantics of data.


The Citizen Science Domain Working Group (DWG) is poised to enhance interoperability within the citizen science community by undertaking a series of strategic initiatives. It aims to develop and document requirements that ensure seamless interaction between various information models relevant to citizen science, which encompasses details about the projects and facilitates the exchange and integration of citizen science data. A significant focus will also be placed on data curation and preservation, addressing legalities such as privacy, data rights, and ownership. The DWG will work towards building a comprehensive understanding of how citizen science data can be made widely available, developing use cases for project and observational data sharing.

Furthermore, the group will analyze and endorse application interfaces and tools designed for standardized data capture and harmonization of data acquisition protocols. It endeavors to clarify what is necessary to render citizen science data comprehensible and usable, including the incorporation of privacy and security protocols, semantics, metadata, data quality, trust, and standardized data formats. The DWG will actively promote the importance of standards in citizen science by supporting and documenting pilot demonstrations of data sharing through OGC and related standards. By doing so, it will also inform and influence the ongoing development of OGC standards, such as SWE for Citizen Science (SWE4CS), to better support citizen science endeavors.


The DWG will collaborate with the Citizen Science Association (CSA) Data and Metadata Working Group, European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) Data, Tools, and Technology Working Group, the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) as well as the OGC Security DWG, Data Quality DWG, and University DWG.


Working Group Chairs: Jo Abhayaratna (PSMA Australia), Joan Maso Pau (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (CREAF)).


Citizen Science, Geospatial

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