Crowdsourcing, citizen science, and prize competitions are open innovation techniques for engaging, educating, and empowering the public to contribute their talents to a wide range of scientific and societal issues. Often these contributions come from a large number of volunteers and can vary in the types of information or activity being requested. When the federal government collects information from 10 or more non-federal people, this often requires Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Clearance to ensure we reduce the burden on the public for collecting information. Although these open innovation activities are often voluntary and not typically seen as a burden on the public, there is still growing confusion on if PRA applies to these public engagement projects and how to complete the PRA process. In this Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum, we have three Information Collection Clearance Officers from DOI (Jeff Parrillo), USGS (James Sayer), and FWS (Madonna Baucum) that will explain the basics of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), discuss how the PRA applies to crowdsourcing, citizen science, and prize competition activities, as well as a Q&A discussion with the audience.
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The hydrology of the Yukon River Basin has changed over the last several decades as evidenced by a variety of discharge, gravimetric, and geochemical analyses. The Indigenous Observation Network (ION), a community-based project, was initiated by the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council (YRITWC) and USGS. Capitalizing on existing USGS monitoring and research infrastructure and supplementing USGS collected data, ION investigates changes in surface water geochemistry and active layer dynamics throughout the Yukon River Basin. Over 1600 samples of surface water geochemistry (i.e., major ions, dissolved organic carbon, and 18O and 2H) have been collected at 35 sites throughout the Yukon River and its major tributaries over the past 15 years. Active layer dynamics (maximum thaw depth, soil temperature and moisture) have been collected at 20 sites throughout the Yukon River Basin for the past eight years. Important regional differences in geochemistry and active layer parameters linked to permafrost continuity and tributaries will be highlighted. Additionally, annual trends and seasonal dynamics describing the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of the watershed will be presented in the context of observed hydrological changes. These data assist the global effort to characterize arctic river fluxes and their relationship to the carbon cycle, weathering and permafrost degradation.
, hydrologist and Science Applications Coordinator for the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (
AKCASC). His interests in water quality led Toohey to pursue an environmental science degree from Huxley College at Western Washington University. He graduated with an environmental science degree in the year 2000, having focused on water quality and Geographic Information Systems. In 2012, Toohey received an interdisciplinary joint Ph.D. in environmental science with a focus in both hydrology and agroforestry from the University of Idaho and the Centro Agronómico Tropical de investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) in Costa Rica. In addition to his position at the Alaska CASC, Toohey serves as an Affiliate Research Assistant Professor for the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks
(Only Accessible to DOI Bureaus)
What does Open Innovation mean?
Open Innovation: Open Innovation is an umbrella term that refers to participatory methods and techniques for obtaining ideas, expertise, and resources from the public, organizations, and experts in an open way.
Citizen Science: The public participates voluntarily in the scientific process, addressing real-world problems in ways that may include formulating research questions, conducting scientific experiments, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, making new discoveries, developing technologies and applications, and solving complex problems.
Crowdsourcing: An open call for voluntary assistance from a large group of individuals for gathering ideas, observations, or services. Many crowdsourced efforts use rigorous procedures to ensure data quality, such as checking for agreement from multiple volunteers or developing verification protocols.
Challenges & Prize Competitions: An approach to federal contracting that promotes innovation by offering a monetary or non-monetary reward upon completing a specific objective or task. Prize competitions are a proven way to increase innovation for the public, private, and philanthropic sectors. Incentivized, open competition is a standard tool in many agencies’ toolboxes for delivering more cost-effective and efficient services, and advancing agencies’ core missions.
Civic Hacking: A creative and collaborative approach to problem solving. Hackathons are gatherings that encourage meaningful engagement between technology developers, designers, data scientists, subject matter experts, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders, making them great places to understand our users, build volunteer community and capacity, as well as recruit new talent. The goal is to produce quick and creative solutions, learn new tools and skills, and meet new people.
Nicole Herman-Mercer is a social scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey in the Decision Support Branch of the Water Resources Mission Area's Integrated Information Dissemination Division. Nicole began at the USGS in 2008 as a Student Intern in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR) working on a case study of Indigenous Observations of Climate Change in a rural Alaska Native Village in the Yukon River Basin. Her work explores the interactions between different knowledge systems regarding human dimensions of landscape change and water resources in rural Alaska Native villages. She manages the Indigenous Observation Network and also conducts research on the impacts of climate change on Indigenous communities in Alaska. Currently, her focus is on the co-production of knowledge utilizing community-based and participatory methods in the Arctic and sub-Arctic to form a better understanding of environmental change and impacts on the populations of this region.
The FedCCS July 2020 Meeting will have three presentations, an open forum, and an informal networking session at the end.
Dr. Maria Aristeidou (The Open University) will present key findings from a paper she recently published on "Online Citizen Science: A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy."
Dr. Giff Wong (IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI)) will provide a brief update on the reporting process and timeline for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) "FY19-20 Implementation of Federal Prize and Citizen Science Authority Progress Report."
Dr. Peter Meyer (Bureau of Labor Statistics) will give a FedCCS Member Lightning Talk on his interest in enabling crowdsourcing among federal employees and other specialists through wiki platforms. He will give a demo of his COVID-Economics Wiki that he has recently been working on to develop a bibliography database that tracks academic literature related to COVID economics.
Online Citizen Science:
OSTP Citizen Science Report:
FedCCS Member Lightning Talk:
FedCCS Meetings are typically every last Thursday of the month. We are shifting the time to start at the top of the hour at 2:00 - 4:00 PM Eastern with the last 30 minutes available for informal virtual networking. The FedCCS June 2020 Meeting will include a presentation from Laura Oremland on citizen science data quality from NOAA Case Studies and from Do Soon Kim on the EteERNA OpenVaccine COVID-19 Challenge.
Laura Oremland (NOAA Citizen Science Co-Coordinator) will provide an overview of NOAA’s citizen science programs, describe the data quality assurance and quality control processes applied to different programs, and summarize common themes and recommendations for collecting high quality citizen science data.
Do Soon Kim (visiting researcher at Stanford University) will talk about the Eterna OpenVaccine Challenge for COVID-19 and how they are harnessing online gamers to develop mRNA vaccines stable enough to be deployed to everyone in the world and not just a privileged few.
Can We Trust the Power of the Crowd?