The Open UniversitySkip to content
 

Crowdsourcing the identification of organisms: a case-study of iSpot

Silvertown, Jonathan; Harvey, Martin; Greenwood, Richard; Dodd, Michael; Rosewell, Jonathan; Rebelo, Tony; Ansine, Janice and McConway, Kevin (2015). Crowdsourcing the identification of organisms: a case-study of iSpot. ZooKeys, 480 pp. 125–146.

Full text available as:
[img]
Preview
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (3MB) | Preview
URL: http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=4633.
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.480.8803
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar

Abstract

Accurate species identification is fundamental to biodiversity science, but the natural history skills required for this are neglected in formal education at all levels. In this paper we describe how the web application ispotnature.org and its sister site ispot.org.za (collectively, “iSpot”) are helping to solve this problem by combining learning technology with crowdsourcing to connect beginners with experts. Over 94% of observations submitted to iSpot receive a determination. External checking of a sample of 3,287 iSpot records verified > 92% of them. To mid 2014, iSpot crowdsourced the identification of 30,000 taxa (>80% at species level) in > 390,000 observations with a global community numbering > 42,000 registered participants. More than half the observations on ispotnature.org were named within an hour of submission. iSpot uses a unique, 9-dimensional reputation system to motivate and reward participants and to verify determinations. Taxon-specific reputation points are earned when a participant proposes an identification that achieves agreement from other participants, weighted by the agreers’ own reputation scores for the taxon. This system is able to discriminate effectively between competing determinations when two or more are proposed for the same observation. In 57% of such cases the reputation system improved the accuracy of the determination, while in the remainder it either improved precision (e.g. by adding a species name to a genus) or revealed false precision, for example where a determination to species level was not supported by the available evidence. We propose that the success of iSpot arises from the structure of its social network that efficiently connects beginners and experts, overcoming the social as well as geographic barriers that normally separate the two.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 1313-2970
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
iSpotNot SetNational Lottery: Big Lottery Fund
iSpotNot SetGarfield Weston Foundation
iSpotNot SetBritish Ecological Society
Wolfson OpenScience Laboratory (RS-12-004-SS)PR/ylr/18587The Wolfson Foundation
iSpot South AfricaNot SetSouth African National Biodiversity Institute
iSpotNot SetBritish Council
iSpotNot SetThe Open University (OU)
Keywords: biodiversity; citizen science; crowdsourcing; identification; learning; learning design; social networking
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) > Research Strategy & Operations
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Mathematics and Statistics
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 42171
Depositing User: Jonathan Rosewell
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2015 09:53
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 10:05
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/42171
Share this page:

Metrics

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU