Galaxy Zoo Talk

Is Citizen Science Ethical?

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    A senior Zooniverse moderator and myself have begun a conversation about writing a study. It would be under the Zooniverse umbrella and would be titled something like: 'Is Citizen Science Ethical?'

    Is anyone interested in participating to a greater or lesser degree? We agree that this is a paper that so needs to be written. To have an ethics paper in which a few professionals would be involved, from Zooniverse, would be a considerable accomplishment.

    This might be a starting point:

    http://ecologybits.com/index.php/2016/01/13/is-citizen-science-ethical/

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    Hi Rick,

    It would be good if you could post a bit more info of how this came about, the discussions you have had, and the people involved, before I consider making any form of a commitment.

    Asking in a private capacity.

    Cheers,

    ~Julianne

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    Another question : Why only posting here in GZ ? If this is about Citizen Science why not post this on Zooniverse Talk or any of the other live Zoo-projects? That way you'll get a much wider audience (hopefully) from a much wider range of CS projects (from the Zooniverse). Especially since you quote Margaret Kosmala's blog featuring Snapshot Serengti (and Margaret is also involved in a number of non-astronomical Zoo projects).

    Also posting as a zooite (no modding going on)

    E.

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    Firstly: Margaret and I have only started this conversation today. It came about because of a section I wrote for the Wikipedia article Citizen Science titled 'Is Citizen Science Ethical' which used her website's opinions. Unfortunately, the Wiki section had to be removed as it used a self-publishing blog as a ref, but that's a technicality. We've exchanged several emails within which the possibility of a study has arisen.

    Secondly, I'm flying a flag here on GZ just to guage peoples' responses. It's too soon to post on Zooniverse I feel; nothing might happen.

    Thirdly, I learnt about Margaret's views from a tweet to do with Zooniverse, or a member of the team, or someone when I find it I'll post it. It's not something I've suddenly conjured out of nothing, but it does have a start from the Zooniverse team, if unofficially.

    Fourthly, personally I feel some study has to be done on Citizen Science and its ethics, with input from both CS and scientists. To be frank, I've been brought to tears by GZ through various emotions ranging from ecstasy to intense frustration. And that's only one citizens' views.

    Lastly, there just aren't any studies on CS ethics. Some studies have been done on 'crowd-sourcing'. Graber & Graber 2012 in the Journal of Medical Ethics write about gremes in particular: ""gremes can have possible adverse affects, and that they manipulate the user into participation."

    No doubt there are many other views on the subject. Also, people from the Zooniverse team put in a great deal of work, some of which is possibly poorly renumerated. Also, Citizen Scientists put in a great deal of work to make Zooniverse work, and they have no renumeration at all.

    What do citizens think about the right and wrongs of doing CS? Apart from the usual platitudes, what do citizens actually feel about doing CS? Obviously, there is a lot to think about. Personally, I've been very fortunate to become involved with some awesome astronomy thanks to CS. I've heard and read other points of view as well that might not paint such a rosy picture.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_science

    http://ecologybits.com/index.php/2016/01/13/is-citizen-science-ethical/

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    Okay, It just sounded like this was a project that was already firmly established. 😄

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    How about the proper noun 'Citizen Science' to start off with? Is it condescending, in that Science done by citizens isn't deemed as worthy as science done by scientists? Why not just call it science? Is the phrase just another glib platitude spun so as to get lots of freebies for scientists to study?

    At what point does doing something for fun or interest become exploitative? How many galaxy classifications need to take place before it becomes exploitative?

    There's not a single source of CS ethics studies.

    Posted

  • sat666leg by sat666leg

    I dont quite understand the question of ethics .? ive read the links above.?. i give my time freely, no one is making me do it. i've studied for 10 years in science my love is cosmology and partical physics , but i understand that it ain't going to happen for me, i believe in all science it amazes me . i get to see images that until i discovered GZ i thought i would never get the chance to see, now i'm trying to get up to speed,i can't wait for the james web to be launched. i find that seeing and reading other peoples comments helps to expand your mind and give you a different view point, it's the collaboration and statistical analysis that might 1 day get, forgive me REAL SCIENTISTS a step closer to understanding all aspects of science.. hence i might hopefully be privy to that knowledge..

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    OK, the posters so far have had good experiences with CS. But who speaks for the CSs who haven't had good experiences? They do exist! Who listens to them when they say, rightly or wrongly, that something shabby has happened? Possible answer: No-one.

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    Just out of curiosity : why do you refer to Margaret Kosmala as a senior Zooniverse moderator ? She is a scientist in charge of several Zooniverse projects (Snapshot Serengeti and both of the Season Spotters) and also on the Jungle Rhythms team.

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell in response to ElisabethB's comment.

    Just out of curiosity, are you speaking as a moderator or personally? Perhaps when you speak personally, you could use a different user name. Margaret Kosmala is the person I've been exchanging a few emails with to discuss an article on her blog. She is a moderator on those sites; a senior zooniverse moderator. Like you.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    How about the proper noun 'Citizen Science' to start off with? Is it
    condescending, in that Science done by citizens isn't deemed as worthy
    as science done by scientists? Why not just call it science? Is the
    phrase just another glib platitude spun so as to get lots of freebies
    for scientists to study?

    The reason why the term 'Citizen Scientist' is falling out of favour, is not that we are considered unworthy, or that our work is not of equal value to that of Scientiests, but rather that the field has expanded to more than just science. For example, a volunteer contributing on one of our humanities projects, would not refer to themselves as a 'Scientist', and we (the astro volunteers) would turn up our noses as being refered to as a 'Social anthropologist'. A common term of reference needs to be found, that encompasses all of our contributions.

    'People Powered Reseach/ers' provides a excellent medium to emcompass all fields.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    Fourthly, personally I feel some study has to be done on Citizen
    Science and its ethics, with input from both CS and scientists. To be
    frank, I've been brought to tears by GZ through various emotions
    ranging from ecstasy to intense frustration. And that's only one
    citizens' views.

    We freely give our time without any expectations, in order to contribute to science. There are no clauses in the term and conditions that promised us riches or fame.

    Were your expectations different? To turn the question around - in order for this to be a fulfilling experience for you - what would you expect to be the outcome? A co-authorship? A blog post? An article in the media? Money? Feedback from the team? Chance for further learning?

    Unless you state it - how will anyone know what you are expecting, and meet up to those expectations.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    Just out of curiosity, are you speaking as a moderator or personally?
    Perhaps when you speak personally, you could use a different user
    name. Margaret Kosmala is the person I've been exchanging a few emails
    with to discuss an article on her blog. She is a moderator on those
    sites; a senior zooniverse moderator. Like you.

    She is a Scientist. She may have the mod tag,but she is the PI or a member of the science team for the projects she represents.

    The use of multiple user names is frowned upon - even for those of us that wear multiple hats. It is considered a banable offence on many projects.

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    I cannot see why anybody who takes part in Citizen Science, Zooniverse or GZ would not want to have its ethics scrutinised. Indeed, perhaps everything on Zooniverse should stop until someone gets a study together. I've got nothing to worry about! A chance to draw a line so people actually know where they stand. As someone who writes about it and researches it, it would be quite fair to write that CS might be the wild west of ethics.

    Julianne, whether you get paid or not is your and Zooniverse's concern. Is it ethical that you don't get paid? I have a great deal of respect for Elisabeth and the moderators. After all, you're at the front end of this project, originally brought about so Zookeeper Kevin could do his doctorate. I've sat down and got drunk with you both and can share your frustrations, especially about people like me.

    I got banned from the forum for a week back in December 2007, the same week I put together a list of GPs. Bill Keel was banned from the forum! I distinctly remember sitting in a room in Greenwich at the big meet up saying that to Zookeeper Chris more than once. GZ was lucky he chose to come back. Where would it be without Professor William Keel, hey?

    No doubt I could go on. This was supposed to be a thread on ethics, not people who should know better slagging me off. Rude at best.

    Margaret is a scientist and I was cautious, rightly or wrongly, of using her full title. She's a moderator for some Zooniverse projects and a respected scientist. What business of yours is it anyway? I chose, rightly or wrongly, to open a thread in a backwater of Zooniverse to guage people's reactions so that if it was ever taken forward, errors could be amended.

    This is a very serious issue; a respected scientist has questioned whether what other scientists do is ethical. Is what GZ and Zooniverse do right; correct; legal even? Does it exploit scientists and citizens? Where's the rule book? That is what needs to be examined, not whether I got someone's title less right than it might be.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    Disclamer - this is my personnel opinion, so please ignore the MOD tag.

    I cannot see why anybody who takes part in Citizen Science, Zooniverse or GZ would not want to have its ethics scrutinised. Indeed, perhaps everything on Zooniverse should stop until someone gets a study together. I've got nothing to worry about! A chance to draw a line so people actually know where they stand. As someone who writes about it and researches it, it would be quite fair to write that CS might be the wild west of ethics.

    Emphasis mine - but once again, it boils down too expectations. What are you expecting in return for your classifications? In my opinion it is pretty straight forward, we classify the data, it (hopefully!) results in a awesome paper that we all get acknowledged on, and science progresses. End of.

    No fame or fortune, just a warm fuzzy feeling that we have contributed in some way, and that our contribution is not wasted and is considered valuable.

    I am not trying to downplay your concerns - they are valid, and should be discussed, and I will be happy to add my opinion.

    I am just questioning your methods and trying to understand the motivation behind them.

    Julianne, whether you get paid or not is your and Zooniverse's concern. Is it ethical that you don't get paid? I have a great deal of respect for Elisabeth and the moderators. After all, you're at the front end of this project, originally brought about so Zookeeper Kevin could do his doctorate. I've sat down and got drunk with you both and can share your frustrations, especially about people like me.

    Just for the record - moderators do not get paid.

    We do this because we love and believe in the project, not for any remuneration.

    I got banned from the forum for a week back in December 2007, the same week I put together a list of GPs. Bill Keel was banned from the forum! I distinctly remember sitting in a room in Greenwich at the big meet up saying that to Zookeeper Chris more than once. GZ was lucky he chose to come back. Where would it be without Professor William Keel, hey?

    Bill was banned for a day because Chris and Kevin thought he was impersonating... um, Bill... a situation that was quickly resolved. No luck about it.

    No doubt I could go on. This was supposed to be a thread on ethics,
    not people who should know better slagging me off. Rude at best.

    I was just responding to what you wrote.

    I like to think I have impeccable manners. I guess I will be dusting off, and reading the Debretts Etiquette Guide this afternoon.

    Margaret is a scientist and I was cautious, rightly or wrongly, of using her full title. She's a moderator for some Zooniverse projects and a respected scientist. What business of yours is it anyway? I chose, rightly or wrongly, to open a thread in a backwater of Zooniverse to guage people's reactions so that if it was ever taken forward, errors could be amended.

    So, you intentionally tried to mislead people with your original post? In order to get their engagement?

    Hardly a basis for a unbiased study.

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    Yes, but is Citizen Science ethical to citizens and scientists? That's what the thread is about. It's not about what I expect or my failings or your manners but just that question, please.

    In what way might Citizen Science be more ethically robust? As pointed out in Margaret's blog, there is not one source that delves into Citizen Science ethics. It would be a very worthwhile study done by professionals under the Zooniverse title. Where better to collect data and views than here? The Zooniverse is home to the internet's largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects.

    This is a link to a list of crowd sourcing studies:

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=crowdsourcing+ethics

    Posted

  • klmasters by klmasters scientist, admin

    I'm slightly confused by the tone in this thread. Margaret, in her blog seems to conclude that citizen science is generally ethical - except where the results are deliberately thrown away and/or not used. That would be against the principles of the Zooniverse (in which there's a strong push to make sure all collected results are used), so I feel really good about the ethics of what the Zooniverse does.

    Do you think the Zooniverse is acting unethically?

    Also a small correction - Galaxy Zoo wasn't set up so Kevin could finish his thesis. It was inspired by the mammoth task Kevin did during his thesis, realising that crowdsourcing it could be both fun, and scientifically productive.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Would a discussion of the ethics of Z include how well, in practice, the various Z projects adhere to the three core Z ethical principles?

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator in response to JeanTate's comment.

    Would a discussion of the ethics of Z include how well, in practice, the various Z projects adhere to the three core Z ethical principles?

    I don't see why not, but I would prefer is we kept it as a generalised discussion - GZ is just one of the many projects under the Zooniverse umbrella, and the Zoo is just one amongst many other Citizen Science initiatives.

    I feel it is also important to point out, that just because a project is hosted by the Zooniverse, it does not necessarily mean that the creative / intellectual control of that particular project sits at Zoo HQ. Although a lot of work is done prior to the start of a project to make sure that the PI / institution driving the project will live up to the principals that we believe in, it is sometimes not possible to predict the outcome.

    Must add - this is very rare!

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    In what way might Citizen Science be more ethically robust?

    I have several ideas on this, but think it would be better to wait until there is a ZT thread on this (interesting!) topic.

    May I ask, do you plan on starting one soon?

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    I cannot see why anybody who takes part in Citizen Science, Zooniverse or GZ would not want to have its ethics scrutinised. Indeed, perhaps everything on Zooniverse should stop until someone gets a study together. I've got nothing to worry about! A chance to draw a line so people actually know where they stand. As someone who writes about it and researches it, it would be quite fair to write that CS might be the wild west of ethics.

    Well, I don't think, that everything should be stoped until there is a study, but maybe no new Zooniverse projects should be added until there is a study!

    PS: I would like to be involved in a study about Zooniverse/CS ethics!

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian

    I found following on the personal blog of Muki Haklay, who is a Professor of Geographical Information Science at UCL, directing the Extreme Citizen Science group.:

    Citizen Science 2015 (second day)
    (...)
    8E Symposium: Ethical Dimensions of Citizen Science Research
    (...)
    There are ideas to start an ethics group in the CSA and consider code of ethics or participant bill of rights.(...)

    https://povesham.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/citizen-science-2015-second-day/

    I wonder, if an ethics group in the CSA was realized?
    If so: Do they work on a "Code of Ethics" / "Participant Bill of Rights"?

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    How about the proper noun 'Citizen Science' to start off with? Is it condescending, in that Science done by citizens isn't deemed as worthy as science done by scientists? Why not just call it science? Is the phrase just another glib platitude spun so as to get lots of freebies for scientists to study?

    Please be informed, that Brooke Simmons aka vrooje tweeted following question two days ago.:

    Hey #citizenscience practitioners:
    have you ever had a funding application rejected because CitSci is “for outreach” or “not real science”?

    CitSciAssoc ‏(Citizen Science Association) replied as follows:

    @vrooje Great question, even if a frustrating one. Interested in the extent of this problem - and suggestions to address it.

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Capella05's comment.

    Jean wrote following.:

    Would a discussion of the ethics of Z include how well, in practice, the various Z projects adhere to the three core Z ethical principles?

    Capella05 replied as follows.:

    (...)
    I feel it is also important to point out, that just because a project is hosted by the Zooniverse, it does not necessarily mean that the creative / intellectual control of that particular project sits at Zoo HQ. Although a lot of work is done prior to the start of a project to make sure that the PI / institution driving the project will live up to the principals that we believe in, it is sometimes not possible to predict the outcome.

    I guess, that Jean means following three ethical rules, which are stated in below paper.:

    Citizen Science Case Study: Galaxy Zoo / Zooniverse

    1. Don’t waste people’s time
    2. Treat participants as collaborators
    3. Don’t do anything computationally that you don’t need humans to do.

    http://citsci.syr.edu/system/files/galaxyzoo.pdf

    @CapelIa05 What are the "principals that we believe in" ? Do you mean something different than the 3 ethical rules?

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator in response to zutopian's comment.

    @CapelIa05 What are the "principals that we believe in" ? Do you something different than the 3 ethical rules?

    Nope - they are one and the same - As mentioned in many posts / blogs / articles over the years. Don't why you would think differently.

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to klmasters's comment.

    I'm slightly confused by the tone in this thread. Margaret, in her blog seems to conclude that citizen science is generally ethical - except where the results are deliberately thrown away and/or not used. That would be against the principles of the Zooniverse (in which there's a strong push to make sure all collected results are used), so I feel really good about the ethics of what the Zooniverse does.

    @klmasters

    Well, in the GZ Quench project no paper was written, as you know! The classification data and the data analyses by volunteers weren't used! There is even no statement/ apology by scientists available!

    I await a reply!

    Posted

  • klmasters by klmasters scientist, admin

    No paper yet.... sometimes science takes a long time, scientists are real people with real lives.

    One lesson learned from Quench (in my personal opinion - this is not the official opinion of the Zooniverse or Galaxy Zoo) is that to run deeper engagement projects like that needs several (ie. N>> 1) very committed scientists. Even then it's possible the science question is a dead-end.

    If we knew it would work it would have been done already and therefore wouldn't be real research.....

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Capella05's comment.

    We freely give our time without any expectations, in order to contribute to science. There are no clauses in the term and conditions that promised us riches or fame.
    Were your expectations different? To turn the question around - in order for this to be a fulfilling experience for you - what would you expect to be the outcome? A co-authorship? A blog post? An article in the media? Money? Feedback from the team? Chance for further learning?

    @Capella05

    You actually asked Rick, but I would like to "put my 2 cents in".:

    I would say, that "fullfilling experience" means following.:
    Is/was it personally worth to donate free time to GZ? Or is/was it personally a waste of time?

    One of the three ethical rules of GZ/ Zooniverse is "Don't waste people's time"! This means, that our classifications should be used for research by the scientists, but I think, that I wasted a lot of time, though my classifications were used! Besides doing classifications, I had spent a lot of time doing/reading posts in the GZ forum/GZ Talk, reading blog posts etc.! I had once been a dedicated volunteer, but in hindsight I don't perceive my participation as a "fullfilling experience"!

    Karen Masters had once (Aug 2014) done following comment in the discussion about the "status/future of Letters" (on page 2) in reply to a post by another volunteer.:

    (...)You often seem to grumble that we don't have enough time to give you - well honestly that's because we don't. Most of the scientists on here are effectively volunteering time too (I could be preparing for a talk I'm giving later today, or working on my own papers, but instead I'm typing this…).
    (...)

    http://talk.galaxyzoo.org/#/boards/BGZ0000007/discussions/DGZ0000won

    In hindsight, I think, that instead of classifying galaxies and discussing about galaxies, it would have been better, if I had done other things! It would have been better for me to do less classifications/posts! I wonder, if there are any other volunteers, who have a similar view? Who knows?

    BTW, there is following old blog post.:

    "52 Years of Human Effort" June 27, 2013

    (...) In the previous year people collectively spent just shy of half a million hours working on Zooniverse projects. Better put, the community invested about 52 years worth of effort. (...) Galaxy Zoo took 17%, which means it had almost 9 years of your effort all to itself.(...)
    Some of them have contributed a single classification, others have given our researchers far, far more of their time and attention. (...)

    http://blog.zooniverse.org/2013/06/27/52-years-of-human-effort/

    It is the time, which had been spent between June 2012 and June 2013 for classifications! I would like to have an update!
    Besides I wonder, how much time volunteers have collectively spent in Talk?

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator in response to zutopian's comment.

    For me there is just one question: If you hate the Zooniverse this much why do you spend such an inordinate amount of time here ?
    If I was in that situation I would have run as fast and as far as I could have !

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to ElisabethB's comment.

    I didn't say, that I hate the Zooniverse!

    Your claim, that I spend "an inordinate amount of time" here in GZ Talk is wrong! Actually, I just occassionaly did posts for 1-2 years!
    I did just a few posts this year.: I did my 1st post in this year on 22 Feb!
    Last year I did posts just in Sept, Oct and Nov!
    Please check!

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    Who owns the data produced by Citizen Scientists? What terms and conditions apply to the process of collecting and storing data? Quoting from Riesch and Potter 2014 (link below):

    "Because the public is actively helping collect the data that is then being used in scientific publications and stored in databases such as the National Biodeversity Network, the public arguably has a valid stake in the ownership of that data. The very least that a CS project should therefore do is be transparent with the data it collects and what it is being used for, and keep people updated on the process."

    Do the CSs within Zooniverse have part ownership of the data? Are we at Zooniverse getting the 'very least' or some more? I know that we aren't getting all that we might as far as information goes.

    As for Zooniverse being broadly ethical, that has an implication that Zooniverse is narrowly unethical.

    'Citizen science as seen by scientists: Methodological, epistemological and ethical dimensions' Reisch and Potter 2014

    http://pus.sagepub.com/content/23/1/107

    'A framework for addressing ethical issues in citizen science' Resnik, Elliot and Miller 2015 (paywall)

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115001057

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian

    I mentioned this old blog post in my previous post.:

    52 Years of Human Effort, June 27, 2013
    http://blog.zooniverse.org/2013/06/27/52-years-of-human-effort/

    There is given following statement.:

    In the previous year people collectively spent just shy of half a million hours working on Zooniverse projects. Better put, the community invested about 52 years worth of effort. That’s to say that if an individual sat down and did nothing but classify on Zooniverse sites for 52 years they’d only just have done the same amount of work as our community did between June 2012 and June 2013.
    (...) Galaxy Zoo took 17%, which means it had almost 9 years of your effort all to itself. (...)

    I think, that the above comparison is a misapprehension, isn't it?

    Each GZ image is classified by 20 volunteers (for reliability), as far as I know!
    If there are e.g. 300.000 images, this makes 6 Mio. classifications by all volunteers!
    If an individual (e.g. professional scientist) had done all the work alone, he would have done just 300.000 classifications!
    So the GZ volunteers had collectively spent more time than an individual (e.g. professional scientist) would have spent!
    EDIT:
    Let's assume, that the classification of each image takes "half a minute".:
    So an individual would spent 150,000 minutes (2,500 hours) for classifying 300.000 images!
    The volunteers would spent collectiveley 3 Mio. minutes (50,000 hours!) for classifying 300.000 images, because each image is classified by 20 volunteers (for reliability)!
    There is a difference of 47,500 hours!!!

    I perceive this as a "waste of people's time"/ "exploitation of volunteers"!
    I think, that it is unethical, that volunteers do more work, especially because they work for free!I!
    Finally, I think, that it is necessary to pay volunteers!!!
    .

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to zutopian's comment.

    Please be informed, that I edited my above post! The part after "EDIT" is new!:

    Let's assume(...)

    Posted

  • klmasters by klmasters scientist, admin

    Hi @Rick_Nowell - we absolutely agree the data outputs should be open access.

    You can find the open data from the first two phases of Galaxy Zoo onlne at data.galaxyzoo.org. We are working hard on getting more phases of the data ready to be published there.

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian

    This discussion was started one month ago!
    Curiously, ZK Chris hasn't done any post here! Did the moderators or someone else inform him?
    Did Rick or someone else inform Margaret Kosmala about this discussion?

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell in response to klmasters's comment.

    I'm wondering if you can clarify something for me please?

    I'll use Galaxy Zoo 1 as an example. A group of people - the Owners - own the database known as Galaxy Zoo 1. The Owners of the database do not have to disclose, talk about, reveal anything, allow access etc. to the data within. They do not even have to tell anybody who the Owners are. The database is the Owner's intellectual property which means they can do as they wish with it. The Owners of GZ1 have given open access to the database so anyone can use and inspect this data. Any studies forthcoming from that database have been open to access freely- only 1 or 2 are behind a paywall.

    So this is all good for Citizens Scientists. The owners have consented to actions that they didn't have to in the interests of openness, good PR, outreach etc. Personally, that seems like the very least they could do but the Owners aren't obliged to do anything at all.

    How might I find out who the Owners are? Could I put in a Freedom of Information request about who the Owners of the GZ1 database are? Is it ethical for themselves not to say who they are?

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    How might I find out who the Owners are? Could I put in a Freedom of Information request about who the Owners of the GZ1 database are? Is it ethical for themselves not to say who they are?

    I guess, that you could do a request! In the "Zooniverse Privacy Policy/ User agreement" there is given following statement.:

    We respect the privacy of every individual who participates in the Zooniverse. We operate in accordance with the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as well as with United States regulations regarding protection of human subjects in research.

    https://www.zooniverse.org/privacy

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    From @Rick_Nowell

    How might I find out who the Owners are? Could I put in a Freedom of Information request about who the Owners of the GZ1 database are? Is it ethical for themselves not to say who they are?

    It is open source.

    Clearly posted on the GZ data web page -along with all of the links to the data. Been available for years...

    Just remember - if you make use of the data you just need to cite the original GZ paper / catalogue.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    From @Zutopian

    This discussion was started one month ago!
    Curiously, ZK Chris hasn't done any post here! Did the moderators or someone else inform him?
    Did Rick or someone else inform Margaret Kosmala about this discussion?

    It had been previously pointed out to Rick_Nowell (in this thread in fact) that if he wanted more involvement from ZooHQ, he should post on Zooniverse Talk not here.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    I was meaning to respond in this thread several days ago, but time was not permitting.

    From @ElisabethB

    For me there is just one question: If you hate the Zooniverse this much why do you spend such an inordinate amount of time here ? If I was in that situation I would have run as fast and as far as I could have !

    From @Zutopian

    I didn't say, that I hate the Zooniverse!

    Your claim, that I spend "an inordinate amount of time" here in GZ
    Talk is wrong! Actually, I just occassionaly did posts for 1-2 years!
    I did just a few posts this year.: I did my 1st post in this year on
    22 Feb! Last year I did posts just in Sept, Oct and Nov! Please
    check!

    Zutopian - when reading your posts they always seem to come across as negative and accusatory. You often post statements that are unfounded, and even when rebuttals and contradictory evidence are posted, you are unwilling to re-evaluate your position and perhaps apologise to the people involved.

    I can see why @ElisabethB would interpret this as hating the Zoo.

    As for myself, you specifically seem to target people in order to get a reaction - you might think that you are starting a conversation - but it might often get interpreted as bullying.

    Posted

  • sat666leg by sat666leg

    one question. can anyone view/see any of the images that we see in GZ anywhere else ? i don't know , but i don't think so. so what's the problem. FULL STOP.

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    I'm very well aware of why and where I started this. In this thread, I write that I regard this as a 'Zooniverse backwater' and thus a good place to discuss and delineate thoughts. If any of the Science Team want to join in, then good. Dr. Kosmala knows about the thread as I told her. Prof. Lintott might not be able to comment for reasons of bias or something. Their opinions are not demanded, as is no-one elses. It was only ever meant to be a cosy fireside chat with whoever can be bothered.

    Returning to the ownership of the database, made up of individual datasets, named Galaxy Zoo 1. Obviously, SDSS own their database, which is mostly open to the public (after a time). They have strict rules about use of their images, and so an arrangement between GZ and SDSS will have been made. But, a person can go to the SDSS website, use the the appropriate data release and
    SDSS Explorer to find any object. So I don't agree that the only place you can find these images is on GZ1, although some manipulation might have occurred to the SDSS images used.

    Thus, the GZ1 database might well be made up of non-exclusive SDSS pictures. Anyone can access the info the database provides and use it as it is Open Source - if it's accessible, which it might not be. On the Zooniverse privacy policy it states: "You retain ownership of any contribution you make to the Zooniverse, and any recorded interaction with the dataset associated with the Zooniverse. You may use, distribute or modify your individual contribution in any way you like." It continues: "However, you do not
    possess ownership of the dataset itself." It fails to say who does possess ownership, but as it's a Zooniverse policy and Zooniverse is owned by the Citizen Science Alliance, the CSA might own the database, but it is unclear if that is so. Perhaps it should be made clearer?

    I would venture that in the interests of clarity and openess, it should be stated on the front page of a Zooniverse project exactly who owns what, especially if the Citizen Scientist "arguably has a valid stake in the ownership of that data" (R & P 2014). Of course the present owners would possibly contest whether that is so; data is after all a commodity.

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    A 'Framework for Ethical Decision Making' is provided by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University (link below). It has a section called 'Five Sources of Ethical Standards' in which it outlines various approaches, which I take the first sentence from. It is a webpage well worth reading.

    1)The Utilitarian Approach.
    Some ethicists emphasize that the ethical action is the one that provides the most good or does the least harm, or, to put it another way, produces the greatest balance of good over harm.

    2)The Rights Approach.
    Other philosophers and ethicists suggest that the ethical action is the one that best protects and respects the moral rights of those affected.

    3)The Fairness or Justice Approach.
    Aristotle and other Greek philosophers have contributed the idea that all equals should be treated equally.

    4)The Common Good Approach.
    The Greek philosophers have also contributed the notion that life in community is a good in itself and our actions should contribute to that life.

    5)The Virtue Approach.
    A very ancient approach to ethics is that ethical actions ought to be consistent with certain ideal virtues that provide for the full development of our humanity.

    Can we apply these ethical approaches to Citizen Science, specifically on the web, specifically to the Zooniverse?

    https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-resources/ethical-decision-making/a-framework-for-ethical-decision-making/

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to sat666leg's comment.

    It depends on which images they are.

    For example, the GZ1 (original GZ) images are (were) standard SDSS DR7 ones, and all SDSS images are available online. In fact, SDSS has invested a great deal of time and effort in making their entire database as fully accessible, to everyone with an appropriate internet connection, as possible (main SDSS page, DR12 SkyServer page).

    Other GZ images were derived from data freely available online, but were processed by one or other of the GZ Science Teams (it has changed, a lot, over the past few years), using their own software/algorithms/methods (in some cases this processing has been fully explained in papers, in others not (yet)).

    Elsewhere in the Zooniverse, it's much more varied, even for sites with "Galaxy Zoo" in their name, but which are quite separate (e.g. Galaxy Zoo: Radio).

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    It fails to say who does possess ownership, but as it's a Zooniverse policy and Zooniverse is owned by the Citizen Science Alliance, the CSA might own the database, but it is unclear if that is so. Perhaps it should be made clearer?

    Yes.

    But much of this is uncharted territory, especially when considered in a broader context.

    For example, with the death of Safe Harbor, how - exactly - does the Zooniverse comply with its (still somewhat uncertain) replacement?

    Also, what are the boundaries/distinctions between the individual Science Team members, their 'institutions' (which may change, as they change jobs), Zooniverse central, and the CSA?

    When things are small, much of this is - correctly - seen as irrelevant; however, when hundreds, or thousands, of parties are involved, it becomes increasingly necessary to make such things clear, and in increasingly detail.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    puts on Moderator hat

    Hi All,

    I have not read the last few posts - and this has nothing to do with the topic of this thread. I have just been made aware that unsolicited and unwelcome pm's are being sent to specific volunteer's with regards to this thread. I don't think I have to remind people that we try to keep this a safe environment for everyone, and unsolicited PM's are a banable offence. Please consider this a final warning for those involved.

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    It fails to say who does possess ownership, but as it's a Zooniverse policy and Zooniverse is owned by the Citizen Science Alliance, the CSA might own the database, but it is unclear if that is so. Perhaps it should be made clearer?

    Please be informed, that there is following Zooniverse Talk discussion, which was started some months ago.:

    Question regarding ownership of data
    https://www.zooniverse.org/talk/14/13985

    There is a reply by ZK Chris!

    PS: If there are further comments/questions concerning ownership, it would be better to post in the above Zooniverse Talk discussion!

    Posted

  • johnfairweather by johnfairweather

    Perhaps it might be an idea to close this thread down and move all content to Zooniverse.org - as there are other zooniverse projects mentioned here. (Subject matter here, seems to relate to all projects, rather than just Galaxy Zoo.)

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to johnfairweather's comment.

    Perhaps it might be an idea to close this thread down and move all content to Zooniverse.org - as there are other zooniverse projects mentioned here. (Subject matter here, seems to relate to all projects, rather than just Galaxy Zoo.)

    I agree!
    In "Zooniverse Talk" there are scientists/moderators/volunteers (of other Zooniverse projects), who also might want to take part in a discussion about the ethics of CS!
    Here (in GZ Talk) are just a few persons, who participate in this discussion! So why "occupy the space" of GZ Talk?
    EDIT:
    Instead of moving all content (posts) to Zooniverse Talk, a link to this discussion could be posted in Zooniverse Talk!

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    Please, feel free to continue this discussion over on Zooniverse Talk !

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    Agreed - this thread will be locked as soon as you* have created a discussions on Zoo Talk.

    Edit: I presume it will be @Rick_Nowell or @zutopian creating the thread?

    Posted

  • klmasters by klmasters scientist, admin in response to Rick_Nowell's comment.

    I'm not an expert in open data (other than working in several collaborations who work under the principle that all data will be made open data once it's ready). My understanding is that once it's published and made open no-one owns it. We do request that you cite our papers if you use it, and we think we understand the database better than anyone, but the GZ team in publishing the data have given it freely to anyone. Maybe Chris and myself should have a chat about adding a license statement to our data.galaxyzoo.org page to make that as clear as possible.

    I do personally feel bad that we are behind on publishing GZHubble and GZCANDELS, but I know that both Kyle and Brooke have been working incredibly hard on those datasets respectively, and you will see them made public very soon. The high redshift catalogues turn out to be trickier than the low redshift ones as there's much more of an effect from observational biases on them (remember the faint hubble blobs where you just couldn't tell what kind of galaxy it was?).

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    Whatever. Let me communicate with a person and then I'll see whether it's a good idea to start a thread. If it does happen, can people be less aggressive please? This is an interesting subject that needs attention I think- it's not a personal attack on the GZ Team. Why would I want to do that?

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to Capella05's comment.

    Zutopian - when reading your posts they always seem to come across as negative and accusatory. You often post statements that are unfounded, and even when rebuttals and contradictory evidence are posted, you are unwilling to re-evaluate your position and perhaps apologise to the people involved.
    I can see why @ElisabethB would interpret this as hating the Zoo.
    As for myself, you specifically seem to target people in order to get a reaction - you might think that you are starting a conversation - but it might often get interpreted as bullying.

    @Capella05

    I perceive your above post and the related post by moderator ElisabethB as "inappropiate moderation", but I don't want to discuss about it in this discussion! I have the intention to start a new discussion in GZ Talk concerning your and her post!

    Posted

  • GeoffRoynon by GeoffRoynon in response to zutopian's comment.

    From @Zutopian on 10th March 2016

    Let's assume, that the classification of each image takes "half a minute".:
    So an individual would spent 150,000 minutes (2,500 hours) for classifying 300.000 images!
    The volunteers would spent collectiveley 3 Mio. minutes (50,000 hours!) for classifying 300.000 images, because each image is classified by 20 volunteers (for reliability)!
    There is a difference of 47,500 hours!!!
    I perceive this as a "waste of people's time"/ "exploitation of volunteers"!
    I think, that it is unethical, that volunteers do more work, especially because they work for free!I!
    Finally, I think, that it is necessary to pay volunteers!!! .

    Paying volunteers is a bad idea. You would get people classifying just for the money and not interested in the science. You would also get people writing scripts to run on the project to select random attributes which would mess up the classifications.
    If you want to earn money on the internet I'm sure there must be other sites out there you could use.

    Posted

  • zutopian by zutopian in response to GeoffRoynon's comment.

    Paying volunteers is a bad idea. You would get people classifying just for the money and not interested in the science. You would also get people writing scripts to run on the project to select random attributes which would mess up the classifications. If you want to earn money on the internet I'm sure there must be other sites out there you could use.

    I found below paper, which was published in 2013!
    Interestingly, three of the co-authors are Zooniverse scientists!

    Volunteering Versus Work for Pay: Incentives and Tradeoffs in Crowdsourcing
    Authors: Andrew Mao, Ece Kamar, Yiling Chen, Eric Horvitz, Megan E. Schwamb, Chris J. Lintott, Arfon M. Smith

    Paid and volunteer crowd work have emerged as a means for
    harnessing human intelligence for performing diverse tasks.
    However, little is known about the relative performance of
    volunteer versus paid crowd work, and how financial incentives
    influence the quality and efficiency of output. We study
    the performance of volunteers as well as workers paid with
    different monetary schemes on a difficult real-world crowdsourcing
    task. We observe that performance by unpaid and
    paid workers can be compared in carefully designed tasks,
    that financial incentives can be used to trade quality for speed,
    and that the compensation system on Amazon Mechanical
    Turk creates particular indirect incentives for workers.
    Our methodology and results have implications for the ideal
    choice of financial incentives and motivates further study on
    how monetary incentives influence worker behavior in crowdsourcing.

    https://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/HCOMP/HCOMP13/paper/viewFile/7497/7408

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell

    CSs have received payment for work carried out:

    "Laypeople are distinguished from scientists in that they are not professional researchers, though they may receive some training or expertise in scientific methods and concepts and they may receive some payment for their work."

    From the same study:

    "Mutually beneficial exploitation could occur in CS if lay-volunteers or local communities do not receive a fair share of the benefits of research. To avoid exploitation, scientists should offer citizens a fair share of the benefits, some of which may include ownership of intellectual property, authorship, formal recognition, education related to the research being conducted, or money."

    'A framework for addressing ethical issues in citizen science' Resnik, Elliot and Miller 2015 (paywall)
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115001057

    The above paper refers to the 2015 book "Responsible Conduct of Research" (Shamoo & Resnik) for examples. The book is £27.

    But:

    "Just Because You Paid Them Doesn't Mean Their Data Are Any Better", a presentation by Sam Droege, Biologist,
    Native Bees Survey, 2007.

    http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/conference/proceeding-pdfs/Droege 2007 CS Conference.pdf

    Posted

  • GeoffRoynon by GeoffRoynon

    How is the Zooniverse going to fund paying for volunteers to do this work? Maybe they could ask one of the multi-nationals to fund them and put advertising on the classification page?
    Would you be willing to watch a short advertising video before starting classification?
    I still think that paying volunteers to do classifications is a bad idea.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    It is always good to see discussion - but perhaps you should take this over to Zooniverse Talk?

    You would get more involvement from other volunteers, and higher chance of a response from the Zooniverse?

    Posted

  • Rick_Nowell by Rick_Nowell in response to Capella05's comment.

    OK I'm writing the desired thread now. I will put it in the section 'People-Powered Research' on the Zooniverse talk page, so you can lock this thread if wanted.

    Posted

  • Capella05 by Capella05 moderator

    I hate locking threads, but I feel this is a discussion best done on Zoo Talk.

    I might actually be able to engage there without it being construed as 'inappropiate moderation".

    Have fun all, see you on the dark side 😄

    Posted