EU Science Hub

Citizen Science and Open Data: a model for Invasive Alien Species in Europe

Feb 08 2017

Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are a growing threat to Europe’s biodiversity. This JRC-COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) joint workshop will focus on strategies for collecting and sharing data gathered by citizens, with the aim to support a European early warning and rapid information system.

IAS are causing severe ecological and economic impacts and an estimated annual cost of €12 billion in the EU.

Recognising the need for robust action to control biological invasions, the European Commission adopted the Regulation 1143/2014 (EU Regulation) on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of IAS, which entered into force on 1 January 2015.

Its effective implementation requires accurate, detailed and timely information on alien species occurrence and distribution for the efficient prevention, early detection, rapid response, and also for evaluating the management measures.

However, limited resources are available for the monitoring and surveillance required to build comprehensive and up-to-date databases and sound early warning systems.

Citizen science based monitoring and surveillance is a potential solution to this problem. In recent years, Citizen Science initiatives have expanded as a result of the development of communication tools and the internet.

New technologies such as smartphone application software (apps) are increasingly available and used to involve citizens in the reporting of Invasive Alien Species in Europe. These can generate geo-referenced records that when validated can complement the professional monitoring schemes and return very useful data for early warning, rapid response programs and management schemes.

However, the data gathered from different apps is fragmented and recently it has been suggested the need to create a common platform for uploading data originating from apps or mirroring validated data into a single, easy to use web service. This is in line with the Open Science Strategic Priority defined in June 2015 by the Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, with the policy actions identified in the Draft European Open Science Agenda, and the ambitious plan of the Commission to develop the European Open Science Cloud.

This JRC-COST joint workshop, with a clear focus on IAS, aims at:

  • Identifying methods to recognise citizens as stakeholders in policy making, especially how to use currently available data from citizens in environmental policy.
  • Identifying best practice for engaging citizens in collecting and sharing data.
  • Identifying the technical constraints and solutions for data sharing, management and communication to the relevant authorities.


The workshop's programme will soon be available.


Registration for this workshop is upon invitation only.

Interest to participate should be expressed to Dr Mafalda Quintas, COST Science Officer via email:

Professional background and motivation must be explained.