Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Inequality persists in a large citizen science programme despite increased participation through ICT innovations

Jonsson, Mari; Kasperowski, Dick; Coulson, Stephen James; Nilsson, Johan; Bina, Pavel; Kullenberg, Christopher; Hagen, Niclas; van der Wal, Rene; Peterson, Jesse


Biological recording is a prominent and widely practised form of citizen science, but few studies explore long-term demographic trends in participation and knowledge production. We studied long-term demographic trends of age and gender of participants reporting to a large online citizen science multi-taxon biodiversity platform ( Adoption by user communities and continually developing Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) greatly increased the number of participants reporting data, but profound long-term imbalances in gender contribution across species groups persisted over time. Reporters identifying as male dominated in numbers, spent more days in the field reporting and reported more species on each field day. Moreover, an age imbalance towards older participants amplified over time. As the first long-term study of citizen participation by age and gender, our results show that it is important for citizen science project developers to account for cultural and social developments that might exclude participants, and to engage with underrepresented and younger participants. This could facilitate the breadth of engagement and learning across a larger societal landscape, ensure project longevity and biodiversity data representation (e.g. mitigate gender bias influence on the number of reports of different species groups).


Artportalen; Biodiversity data; Biological recording; Citizen science; Inequality; Participant age and gender

Published in

AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment
2024, Volume: 53, number: 1, pages: 126-137 Publisher: SPRINGER