Confluence Retirement

In an effort to consolidate USGS hosted Wikis, myUSGS’ Confluence service is scheduled for retirement on January 27th, 2023. The official USGS Wiki and collaboration space is now SharePoint. Please migrate existing spaces and content to the SharePoint platform and remove it from Confluence at your earliest convenience. If you need any additional information or have any concerns about this change, please contact Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

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Welcome to the Open Innovation (OI) Community Wiki

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Open Innovation Community 


The Open Innovation (OI) Community welcomes anyone interested in


using participatory science and innovation methods like Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science,




Prize Competitions


to obtain ideas, data, services, and solutions from the public and organizations in an open way. The Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forum is a series of different talks and panels to inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy.

Join Open Innovation Community Listserv


If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, send an email to: and

Point of Contact:


Open Innovation Announcements

COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts

A curated list of links to novel coronavirus COVID-19 open innovation efforts and other interactive dashboards, maps, and visualizations from the usual and unusual players, as well as other spontaneous open innovation efforts around the world.

April 2020 Newsletter

A monthly newsletter with links to upcoming and past events related to open innovation. 

Upcoming Open Innovation Meetings


All Hands on Deck: COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts, USGS Science Corps, and The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint
Friday, April 17, 2020 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

  • COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts
  • USGS Science Corps
    • Background on USGS Science Corps concept and proposed open innovation ideas
  • The Opportunity Project Earth Sprint
    • Draft Problem Statements


Celebrate Citizen Science Month: Take Your Kids Teleworking with Citizen Science
Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:00 - 12:00 PM ET

  • April is Citizen Science Month!
    • Citizen Science Month resources
  • Distance Learning at Home and with Citizen Science
    • Share educational resources to learn at home for kids
    • Federal and other citizen science projects for kids

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Tackling the Paperwork Reduction Act with DOI Generic Information Collection Request 
Friday, April 24, 20202 at 3:00 - 4:00 PM ET

  • Background on the Paperwork Reduction Act
    • A Guide to the PRA - Digital.Gov Resources
  • DOI Generic Information Collection Request for Crowdsourcing for Citizen Science
    • Request for potential projects that want to use DOI Generic ICR
    • Request for feedback on draft 60 Day Notice

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 Sophia B Liu

Innovation Specialist, Science and Decisions Center (SDC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
USGS Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Coordinator
Co-Chair of the Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community


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Past Open Innovation Community Meetings

of Practice


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.


Upcoming Meetings

Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community of Practice

JOIN FedCCS Listserv for Meeting Invites by emailing:

FedCCS August 2020 Meeting
"Citizen Science for Social Justice" and "Discussion on Webinar on Federal Citizen Science Report"

Thursday, August 27, 2020 Webinar: 11:00 - 12:30 PM Eastern Time

FedCCS Aug Meeting: 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time

The FedCCS August 2020 Meeting will include a presentation from Abby Kinchy on "Citizen Science for Social Justice", a discussion on the upcoming FY19-20 OSTP Data Call for the Federal Prize and Citizen Science Report, an open forum for any agency updates, and an informal networking session at the end of the formal meeting.

Please consider registering on Eventbrite to attend the upcoming Federal Prize and Citizen Science Report Webinar 

Participate in Menti Poll to before, during, and after the FedCCS Meeting. View the Menti Poll Results Here!

Provide Feedback on FedCCS Meeting to help us improve these FedCCS Meetings.

August 27, 2020 Agenda (Times in Eastern Time Zone)

11:00 - 12:30 PM Webinar on Federal Prize and Citizen Science Report


2:00 - 2:30 PM  FedCCS Introductions, Icebreaker Polls, New Members, and Team Site

2:30 - 3:00 PM  Abby Kinchy - “Citizen Science for Social Justice"

3:00 - 3:20 PM  Discussion on Webinar on Federal Citizen Science Report

3:20 - 3:30 PM  Open Forum: Agency Updates and Open Discussion

3:30 - 4:00 PM  Informal Virtual Networking

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Citizen Science for Social Justice

Abby Kinchy will talk about how deliberation about values and political commitments can help citizen science organizers and participants navigate the dilemmas they face.

Abby Kinchy is a Sociologist Professor in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She studies environmental politics and writes about conflicts involving science, social movements, and controversial new technologies. Most recently, she co-authored "Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge" (Rutgers, 2019). Her research examines the relationship between science and democracy, with two main objectives: 1) to illuminate how science shapes politics and policy making, and 2) to understand changing forms of public participation in the making of science and technology. Kinchy's research and teaching focus on topics relating to agriculture, ecological sustainability, and environmental justice. Most recently, Kinchy's research has focused on the politics of "citizen science" - public participation in scientific research. In addition, her current NSF-funded project, Nuestros Suelos/Our Soil, explores how citizen science could help urban communities to identify heavy metal contamination in soil and to advocate for solutions. She previously led the NSF-funded Watershed Knowledge Mapping Project, which examined the practices and politics of environmental monitoring in the context of shale gas development, or "fracking." Kinchy's work extends beyond the politics of citizen science. She is the author of Seeds, Science, and Struggle: The Global Politics of Transgenic Crops (MIT, 2012). She is also a co-organizer of STS Underground, a research network that advances social science research on the technoscientific dimensions of mining, burial, and other forms of subterranean exploration.

Relevant Open Access Publications:

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Discussion on Webinar:
Federal Prize and Citizen Science Congressional Reporting Data Collection

Register Here on Eventbrite to attend the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Webinar on August 27 at 11:00 - 12:30 Eastern. Please make sure you register to receive the ZoomGov meeting link, which will be sent the day before the meeting.

The Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI) will demonstrate a new online data collection survey for this report and answer any questions from the respective Communities of Practice.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is Congressionally-mandated to report on prize competitions and crowdsourcing and citizen science activities every two years, as authorized by the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act (i.e. COMPETES Act) and Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act (Section 402, American Innovation and Competitiveness Act). The OSTP is working with the General Services Administration (GSA) and Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) STPI to collect and report on fiscal year 2019-2020 activities.

This report will be the seventh report on the use of prize competitions and challenges conducted by federal agencies to spur innovation, engage citizen solvers, address tough problems, and advance their core missions. It also represents the second report on crowdsourcing and citizen science activities conducted by federal agencies.

Related Resources:


Open Innovation Resources

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Past Open Innovation Meetings

 Ignite Open Innovation (OI) Forums are a series of different talks and panels to inform the development of a USGS Open Innovation Strategy.

Join USGS Open Innovation Teams Site

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Search for USGS Open Innovation Team using Code: mom37z3
For non-DOI employees that want to join, send an email to request access to: and

Ignite OI Forum Stream Channel

Past Meeting Videos on Stream
(Only Accessible to DOI Bureaus)

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COVID-19 Open Innovation Efforts


Federal Open Innovation Resources

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The Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community of Practice works across the government to share lessons learned and develop best practices for designing, implementing, and evaluating crowdsourcing and citizen science initiatives. The FedCCS is a grassroots community open to all federal practitioners working on, funding, or just interested in learning more about crowdsourcing and citizen science. We seek to expand and improve the U.S. government’s use of crowdsourcing, citizen science, and similar public participation techniques for the purpose of enhancing agency mission, scientific, and societal outcomes. For more information, check out the FedCCS 2-Page Overview, FedCCS File Sharing Trello Site (contains past FedCCS Meeting Notes and other resources), and visit:

FedCCS Community Meetings are every Last Thursday of the month at 2 - 4 PM Eastern Time.

FedCCS Community Listserv Info

FedCCS is for Federal Employees only

FedCCS Community Team Site
(Code: m3375mh)

For non-DOI employees, send an email with subject line
Join FedCCS Team Site” to the following emails: and

Image Added is the official hub for prize competitions and challenges across all federal government, and a web platform that assists federal agencies with crowdsourcing ideas and solutions directly from the public, or “crowd.” The website enables the U.S. government to engage citizen-solvers in prize competitions for top ideas and concepts as well as breakthrough software, scientific and technology solutions that help achieve their agency missions. This site also provides a comprehensive toolkit, a robust repository of considerations, best practices, and case studies on running public-sector prize competitions as developed with insights from prize experts across government.

Federal Challenge & Prize Community

Join by sending an email to with "Join Challenges Community" in the subject and enter your name + agency you work for in the body.


Old Resources

Past Ignite Open Innovation Forum Meetings

Tackling the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
in the Age of Social Media and Web-based Interactive Technology

Thursday, June 18 at 2 PM Eastern

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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.


  • Jeff Parrillo - Department of Interior (DOI) Departmental Information Collection Clearance Officer
  • Madonna Baucum - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Information Collection Clearance Officer (DOI alternate)
  • James Sayer - U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Information Collection Clearance Officer


  • Background on the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
  • Discussion on how the PRA applies to Crowdsourcing, Citizen Science, and Prize Competition activities

Indigenous Observation Network (ION):
Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring Project

Friday, June 19 at 2 PM Eastern

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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.

Ryan Toohey, 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.

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.

Past FedCCS Meetings

Federal Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (FedCCS) Community of Practice

FedCCS July 2020 Meeting
"Online Citizen Science, Update on OSTP Data Call, and COVID-Economics Wiki"

Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time

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.

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Online Citizen Science:
A Systematic Review of Effects on Learning and Scientific Literacy

Maria will talk about a paper she recently published in the Citizen Science: Theory and Practice Journal. Participation in online citizen science is increasingly popular, yet studies that examine the impact on participants’ learning are limited. The aims of this paper are to identify the learning impact on volunteers who participate in online citizen science projects and to explore the methods used to study the impact. The ten empirical studies, examined in this systematic review, report learning impacts on citizens’ attitudes towards science, on their understanding of the nature of science, on topic-specific knowledge, on science knowledge, and on generic knowledge. These impacts were measured using self-reports, content analysis of contributed data and of forum posts, accuracy checks of contributed data, science and project-specific quizzes, and instruments for measuring scientific attitudes and beliefs. The findings highlight that certain technological affordances in online citizen science projects can cultivate citizens’ knowledge and skills, and they point to unexplored areas, including the lack of experimental and long-term studies, and studies in formal education settings.

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OSTP Citizen Science Report:
Update on FY19-20 Data Call and Reporting Process

Giff from the 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," which will be developed in collaboration with GSA and STPI. The following is a summary of some of the updates. If you have questions or comments on this upcoming data call, please provide them in these two Menti Poll Questions for Giff.

  • FY19-20 data call will be done online using the Qualtrics survey tool.
  • A unique survey URL will be generated and emailed directly to the point of contact for each citizen science project to be included in the report (i.e., you will get an email and URL for every activity you are managing).
  • The new process will streamline and simplify the user experience on the front end and facilitate data access and cleanliness on the back end.
  • An initial call for data will go out in August with submissions due by mid-November.

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FedCCS Member Lightning Talk:
A Bibliography of 'COVID Economics" on a Wiki

Peter will give a brief 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 uses to develop a database of academic literature related to COVID economics. He hopes this talk will reawaken discussion of how wikis can enable crowdsourcing within the federal government.

FedCCS June 2020 Meeting
"NOAA Citizen Science on Data Quality" and "Eterna OpenVaccine for COVID-19"

Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 2:00 – 4:00 PM Eastern Time

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.

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Can We Trust the Power of the Crowd?
A Look at Citizen Science Data Quality from NOAA Case Studies

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a rich history in citizen science dating back hundreds of years. Today NOAA’s citizen science covers a wide range of topics such as weather, oceans, and fisheries with volunteers contributing over 500,000 hours annually to these projects. The data are used to enhance NOAA’s science and monitoring programs. But how do we know we can trust these volunteer-based efforts to provide data that reflect the high standards of NOAA’s scientific enterprise? This talk 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.   

Laura Oremland serves as one of NOAA's Citizen Science Co-Coordinators. She has been with NOAA since 2002 and resides in the NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology in Silver Spring, MD where she also manages education programs and works in science communications. She has a BS in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and an MS in marine science from SUNY Stony Brook.


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Eterna OpenVaccine:
Stabilizing mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 through Crowdsourcing

Eterna (@EternaGame) is a browser-based "game with a purpose" developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University with funding support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Players solve puzzles related to the folding of RNA molecules and can also suggest new puzzles. Similar to Foldit—created by some of the same researchers that developed Eterna—the puzzles take advantage of human problem-solving capabilities to solve puzzles that are computationally laborious for current computer models. The researchers hope to capitalize on "crowdsourcing" and the collective intelligence of EteRNA players to answer fundamental questions about RNA folding mechanics. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Eterna project is looking to harness online gamers toward a solution. The mission is to develop mRNA vaccines stable enough to be deployed to everyone in the world and not just a privileged few. COVID-19 has highlighted the need for widely deployable, equitable vaccines. Although mRNA vaccine feature unique advantage compared to traditional vaccine modalities, there are critical roadblocks that must be addressed before it can be deployed widely. Eterna launched the OpenVaccine challenge to mobilize the citizen science community to help navigate this difficult scientific challenge through gamifying one of the toughest challenges in RNA biochemistry: sequence-structure prediction. This talk will describe Eterna's current effort to design a more stable mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Do Soon Kim is currently a visiting researcher in the laboratory of Professor Rhiju Das at Stanford University working on the OpenVaccine project. He is pursuing his PhD at Northwestern University in chemical engineering studying synthetic biology, and first got involved with Eterna from his interest in biomolecule design.