A new open access paper in PLOS critiques the haphazard sampling usually found in citizen(community) science databases (such as iNat).
There is some nice discussion here of the statistical limitations of project such as iNat that I think echos discussions we’ve had on the forum. In a way the paper is aimed more at the organizations running citizen(community) science projects rather than users themselves but I think everyone could learn something from considering their points.
The authors make a fairly non-specific recommendation to incentivize sampling in particular times and places rather sampling (and detecting) specific species. This would improve coverage and give us better data on where organisms are NOT found for instance. For example, current leaderboards in iNaturalist incentivize finding species and making observations rather than sampling per se. The authors don’t provide a lot of details of how to build such a system and I don’t know how their suggestions would fit into iNaturalist. But their paper is very relevant to the ultimate scientific value of iNaturalist.
I hope some of you find it of interest.