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Disclosure of Personal Data in Citizen Science Settings

Rudnicka, Anna Małgorzata; (2020) Disclosure of Personal Data in Citizen Science Settings. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

An increasing number of research projects rely on data provided by citizen scientists and many of these projects collect personal information about the citizen. We know very little about why a citizen scientist would decide to disclose or withhold their data. With data protection becoming one of the most socially salient issues and the focus of a recent legislative overhaul, it is important to understand the complexities of human behaviour in voluntary disclosure scenarios. This thesis describes two threads of investigation. Firstly, we present three studies that examined disclosure behaviour in the context of an online sleep survey. Participants in these studies were not part of any existing online community. We demonstrate that, in this context, citizen scientists shared a larger volume of data when prompted by a message that emphasised learning opportunities when compared to messages focused on other types of motivation. Moreover, we show evidence for the distinction between citizen science and online quizzes, demonstrating that the relationship between motivational messages and data disclosure differs across these two types of projects. Secondly, we report two studies conducted by encouraging members of an online pet owner community to take part in an online citizen science survey. We found that the presentation of affirming motivational messages impacts data disclosure in a different way than asking people about their motivational preferences. Moreover, selfless benefits of citizen science participation were the most popular among the participants, however the least effective at eliciting data disclosure. The findings presented in this thesis demonstrate that how people are encouraged to take part in citizen science has an impact on the volume of sensitive data that they disclose within these projects. This has implications both for the design of effective citizen science initiatives but also for the ethics of citizen science.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Disclosure of Personal Data in Citizen Science Settings
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: citizen science, data disclosure, motivation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > UCL Interaction Centre
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099010
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