This is Cos4Cloud

We boost citizen science technologies

One of the biggest challenges of citizen science is the quality of data, as well as maintaining the citizen observatories used to collect this data. 

Cos4Cloud is addressing these challenges by developing ten technological services to improve citizen science platforms, also known as citizen observatories, to help them boost the quantity and the quality of observations and, finally, to help ensure their long-term viability. 

The services will be co-designed with key stakeholders and carefully tested with end-users.

Overview

Cos4Cloud (Co-designed citizen observatories for the EOS-Cloud) is a European Horizon 2020 project to boost citizen science technologies.

One of the biggest challenges of citizen science is the quality of data, as well as maintaining the citizen observatories used to collect this data. Cos4Cloud is addressing these challenges by developing ten technological services to improve citizen science platforms, also known as citizen observatories, to help them boost the quantity and the quality of observations and, finally, to help ensure their long-term viability. 

The services will be co-designed with key stakeholders and carefully tested with end-users.

Cos4Cloud will make these services available in the new European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), a virtual space aimed at the European scientific community, so anyone interested in creating or improving their citizen observatory can use them.

Among other things, the cutting-edge technologies will help improve interoperability, networking, data quality and secure management of data in citizen observatories, with a very user-friendly focus.

Cos4Cloud relies on the participation of a network of 9 citizen observatories and Do it Yourself (DIY) initiatives focused on biodiversity and environmental monitoring

These platforms will be responsible for testing the various services with their users. Four of the largest citizen biodiversity observatories in Europe will collaborate in the first part of the project: Natusfera, iSpot, Pl@ntNet and Artportalen

In the second part, the services will be tested on platforms focused on environmental monitoring in water (Freshwater Watch and KdUINO) and air: odours (OdourCollect), particular matter (CanAir.io) and aerosols (iSpex).

The project will organize a wide range of activities from BioBlitzes to Datathons and Hackathons, as well as creating a space to exchange knowledge and share best practices. 

These activities will be a useful space for encouraging citizen observatories to work together, especially on common challenges regarding infrastructure and technology. 

In this sense, Cos4Cloud is an opportunity for networking among citizen observatories and an invitation to search for collective solutions for their sustainability.

Objectives

Our core mission is: To improve citizen observatories technologies to help them increase the quantity and the quality of observations and, finally, to help ensure their long-term viability.

Collaborate on international and interdisciplinary levels

Facilitate networking and knowledge-management processes across organizations, people and initiatives working on citizen observatories.

Help citizen observatories’ sustainability

Help ensure the long-term viability of citizen science platforms.

More and better data

External cloud-based services will ensure collection of larger data sets with improved quality control.

Support citizen science growth

Integrate citizen science into the European Open Science Cloud to make it available to the whole scientific community.

Develop innovative technologies

Make available technological services built by and for users that improve the citizen observatories and contribute to their sustainability.

Increase the use of citizen science data

Follow the FAIR data principles (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) to make the most of the data available from citizen science.

EOSC

The European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) is developing a large virtual infrastructure to support and develop open science and open innovation in Europe and beyond. 

Specifically, it is a virtual environment for the whole scientific community to store, manage, analyse and re-use data for research, innovation and educational purposes, which aims to:

  • Integrate and consolidate e-infrastructure platforms
  • Federate existing research infrastructures and science clouds
  • Support the development of cloud-based services for open science

The creation of the EOSC is one of the eight priorities of the European Open Science Agenda, along with promoting citizen science. There is a need, then, to integrate citizen science into the EOSC digital ecosystem, so that citizen science grows and adds value to the EOSC community.

We are pioneer in integrating citizen science in the EOSC

The ten services developed by Cos4Cloud will be uploaded to the EOSC as modules, so that any existing citizen science observatory can select and install the technological services needed to improve its functionalities.

Minimum viable ecosystem

The basic set of services in the EOSC ecosystem is called the Minimum Viable Ecosystem (MVE). Consolidation of this MVE requires basic technical, political, and human conditions.

Interoperable services and open data, a coordinated effort to put the right incentives in place for all those involved (researchers, software developers, infrastructure managers, research managers and users) are some of these conditions (European Commission, 2018).

The MVE for COs proposed by Cos4Cloud consists of a co-designed and prototyped set of services to tackle the challenges facing citizen observatories and will take into account the following priorities:

Co-designed with key stakeholders

Standardised data-models to increase interoperability capabilities

Modular software ecosystem around citizen-science knowledge representation

Focus on the final user and the potential impact of the citizen science

Artificial intelligence, data quality and reputation-assessment

Personalised notification systems

Data-use notification and user experience maximisation

Integration of data from biodiversity and environmental quality

Knowledge transfer and linguistic tools

Cos4Cloud will create an MVE where the citizen observatories, technological services, citizen science experts validating data and users are able to establish synergies and collaborate to generate high-quality data in global repositories.

Co-design methodology

Co-design refers to collaborations in which several stakeholders actively join forces to tackle a shared challenge. Participating stakeholders can belong to any sector of society, such as civil society, industry, government or academia. The engagement of these four major sectors is commonly referred to as the ‘quadruple helix model’.

Cos4Cloud uses co-design methodologies for prototyping the services from the bottom up, with the quadruple helix, to allow for customization at all required phases. At Cos4Cloud, the main goal is to align mutual interests to tackle the technological challenges of citizen science by organizing face-to-face workshops, tests services and online interactions among all end-users involved. As a result of the co-designing methodology, Cos4Cloud will improve the functional specification of the services.

The coordinator of the co-design Work Package is Science for Change. The co-designed phases will follow the scheme shown below:

1. Identify the issues

Issues and needs identified in a specific Citizen Observatory (CO) for service co-design.

2. Technology Mapping

Exploration of existing platforms from a technological point of view, TRL status and gradient.

3. Stakeholders mapping

Mapping the various stakeholders who will participate in co-designing specific services.

4. Frame (the need/ problem)

Set goals and analyse challenges to better frame the problem, involving key stakeholders.

5. Service development

In this phase, the service will be co-designed using the Agile Methodology.

6. Deployment and testing

At this stage, the new, co-designed service will be put in place to get further feedback from users.

7. Final service co-designed

At this stage, the service will be co-designed, already in place and at the desired TRL (target TRL 8/9).