I generally lurk on here, but....Peter's question is excellent. The first
response is....disingenuous to put it politely.

Seems to me to be a case of "you get what you pay for."  I think it is a
horribly sad state of affairs that we do not have adequate funding to
employ actual scientists to do the work, but then complain that what
students and other volunteers produce is essentially garbage.

Full disclosure:  I am a college dropout.  Part of the reason for that was
that I found the abstraction to be intolerable.  I was being asked to
create ecosystem models, apply formulas, etc, which tore me away from the
living, breathing organisms that got me excited about science in the first
place.  I also experienced bullying, even by one professor, for finding
excitement in discovering an insect under a board instead of a reptile or
amphibian (on field trips).

You begin dissing volunteer work at our collective peril.  You should be
glad that anyone takes an interest in trying to help.  So, let's indeed set
some standards and get on with it.

End rant.

Eric R. Eaton
[log in to unmask]
Lead author, *Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America* 

On Fri, Dec 20, 2019 at 2:50 PM Brower, Andrew V - APHIS <
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hmm.  It seems like the expectation/hope of this sort of crowd-sourced
> research is that if  you gather enough little bits of data, the truth will
> emerge, regardless of whether the individual pieces of evidence are mostly
> worthless. Kind of like next generation sequencing!
> Get Outlook for iOS
> <>
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Entomological Collections Network Listserve <
> [log in to unmask]> on behalf of Peter A Rauch <[log in to unmask]>
> *Sent:* Friday, December 20, 2019 4:36:03 PM
> *To:* [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
> *Subject:* Citizen Science Ethics ?
> Scientists have been providing "citizen science" (aka "community science"
> as NAS now refers to it) opportunities to participate in important
> ecological (and all sorts of other) research in recent years.
> Research-based "crowd-sourcing" may be considered a form of citizen science
> for the purposes of this message.
> Volunteers are asked to donate their time, skills, knowledge, to become
> trained, and then observing, collecting, curating, processing, and
> otherwise contributing to formal ecological studies.
> A recent personal experience, participating in a crowd-sourced application
> --which will remain anonymous, almost immediately raised the question of
> ethical / unethical engagement of volunteers in such projects.
> What is the extent of the ethical responsibility of a principal
> investigator to assure that the project is actually able to use** the work
> product of the volunteers?
> ** E.g., Have the data processing and analysis protocols been implemented
> specific to this project's volunteer-generated data?
> If so, should those methodologies be disclosed / demonstrated as proof of
> concept, to the volunteers?
> If not developed and/or implemented (incl. testing, quality control, etc),
> should this information be clearly disclosed to prospective volunteers
> before they decide to donate their efforts to the project?
> Has ESA addressed, and developed an ethics guideline for,  these sorts of
> "before we even begin to solicit and engage volunteer donations" concerns
> about a project's capacity to productively use those crowd-sourced,
> citizen-science, donations?
> Should the proof that a project can use the crowd-sourced data be divulged
> in detail before the first volunteer is recruited?
> Peter
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