COST Action CA15212 “Citizen Science to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe

We are witnessing a remarkable growth of citizen science, that is, work undertaken by civic educators together with citizen communities to advance science, foster a broad scientific mentality, and/or encourage democratic engagement, which allows society to deal rationally with complex modern problems. The main aim of COST Action CA15212 “Citizen Science to promote creativity, scientific literacy, and innovation throughout Europe” (2016-2020) is to bundle capacities across Europe to investigate and extend the impact of the scientific, educational, policy, and civic outcomes of citizen science with the stakeholders from all sectors concerned (e.g., policy makers, social innovators, citizens, cultural organizations, researchers, charities and NGOs), to gauge the potential of citizen science as enabler of social innovation and socio-ecological transition. The Action explores the potential transformative power of citizen science for smart, inclusive, and sustainable ends, and will provide frameworks for the exploitation of the potential of European citizens for science and innovation. The relevance and timeliness of the Action derive from the recent, sudden increase of activity around citizen science, as ordinary people and researchers begin to understand the power of technological devices, which allow them to record the environment around them and share and collectively interpret data and knowledge to advance science and society.

Given the interdisciplinarity of citizen science, the Action benefits from the different contributions and perspectives of a range of disciplines and research cultures, which rarely overlap and engage directly. The Action provides an ideal means for knowledge sharing and focused development on the topic by enabling better integration of separate national activities at a European and international scale.

COST is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe.


Working group 5 to “Improve data standardization and interoperability

1000001 Labs’ Luigi Ceccaroni is chair of working group 5 to “Improve data standardization and interoperability“, whose general objectives are:

  • to explore ways for integrating data and knowledge related to citizen-science initiatives and suggest mechanisms for standardization, interoperability, and quality control;
  • to improve the technical foundations to foster the impact of citizen science globally.

WG5’s specific objective for the first period (1.11.2016-30.4.2017) is to contribute to develop an ontology of citizen-science projects (including a vocabulary of concepts and metadata) to support data sharing among citizen-science projects. WG5 will coordinate with activities on data and service interoperability carried out in Europe, Australia and the USA (e.g., the CSA’s international Data and Metadata Working Group []), and will take into account existing standards, namely Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) standards (via the OGC Domain Working Group on Citizen Science), ISO/TC 211, W3C standards (semantic sensor network/Linked Data), and existing GEO/GEOSS semantic interoperability. WG5 will investigate the best format to publish the ontology.

Members (as 2016.12.09):

Luigi Ceccaroni (chair), 1000001 Labs

Imre Lendak (co-chair), University of Novi Sad

Jaume Piera, ICM-CSIC

Bernat Claramunt López, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Lucy Bastin, University of Aston

Rob Lemmens, University of Twente

Stefano Martellos, University of Trieste

Mathieu Andro, French National Institute for Agricultural Research

Antonello Romano, University of Siena


The COST action, in its first effort to identify core ontology classes by drawing on previous research, existing vocabularies and standards, adopted, as basis for project metadata, the work done by the CSA’s Data and Metadata Working Group on core project metadata mappings, and will adopt, as basis for tools metadata, the work done by SciStarter on the tools database.

The work plan of the COST action’s WG5 for December 2016 – March 2017 is:

  • Refinement of core requirements of the ontology of citizen science based on existing experience (not only in biodiversity).
  • Refinement of the identification of core ontology classes and associated relations by drawing on previous research, existing vocabularies and instantiations.
  • Development of a plan for further refining core requirements, ontology classes and associated relations with input from the larger citizen science community.
  • Mapping and documentation of meetings/workshops/conferences on standardization and interoperability in citizen science to be able to build on previous work, to synchronize efforts, and not to repeat efforts.
  • Definition of a plan on how to disseminate/standardize results, beyond papers.

WG5 is associated to two deliverables:

(1) a downloadable version of the code of an ontology of citizen science (2017); and

(2) the formal standardization of the ontology as sensor web enablement profile for CS by OGC (2020, but likely before).