What is citizen science?
Citizen science is data collection by members of the public to help answer research questions. Having a strong recording community is essential to citizen science.
We are extremely grateful for our volunteers. One of the benefits of citizen science is that we are able to collect data nationwide over long periods of times. For example, the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme began in 2008 and it simply would not be possible without citizen science to generate such a large dataset across Ireland on our butterfly populations.
By becoming a citizen scientist, you will have a role in decision making
There are many benefits to becoming a citizen scientist:
- Adding to national dataset on Ireland’s biological data. We also share our data with GBIF, a global biodiversity database of more than 6 billion records.
- Increasing your own scientific knowledge. The National Biodiversity Data Centre is delighted to welcome everyone to our recording community no matter what your background is.
- By monitoring, you are becoming a part of political decision making through your scientific contribution. Your data helps to track our efforts and allows to better use our resources to improve our biodiversity.
Resources available to you to become a citizen scientist
In an effort to recruit and support new citizen scientists, we have developed a ‘Beginner’s guide to biological recording’. Having a strong recording community is an essential step in protecting our biodiversity.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre have developed several online courses that you can use to increase your knowledge on species identification and in our monitoring schemes helping you along your journey to becoming a citizen scientist.
Through our shop you can purchase several resources including our swatches which are hand sized pocket ID guides that you can use in the field for species identification.
Monitoring and tracking change
One of the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s primary strategic objectives is to track change in Ireland’s biodiversity. In other words we want to collect high quality, scientifically robust data to track changes in Ireland’s species and habitats. We rely on the good will and expertise of our recording community to take part in our recording initiatives and monitoring schemes to complete this work. Contributing and participating in these initiatives make a significant contribution to better understand how Ireland’s biodiversity is changing.
Go to our ‘Monitoring and tracking change’ page to learn about the monitoring schemes run by the National Biodiversity Data Centre and ways you can become a citizen scientist.
Learn more about citizen science
Citizen science is powerful, it allows us to answer questions on a national and global scale and carry out surveys over a long time period.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre is a member of the European Citizen Science Association. Their “mission is to connect citizens and science; to promote sustainable development through citizen science; and to ensure that citizen science contributes to policy processes.”
The ten principles of citizen science provide a framework against which to assess new and existing citizen science initiatives with the aim of fostering excellence in all aspects of citizen science.
There was a study published in 2020 looking at the demographics of citizen scientists through the National Biodiversity Data Centre.