Call for discussion papers 2023: Analysis of citizen science data

Citizen science involves volunteers who participate in scientific research by collecting data, monitoring sites, and even taking part in the whole process of scientific inquiry (Roy et al. 2012, Scyphers et al. 2015). In the past two decades, citizen science (also called participatory or community-based monitoring) has gained tremendous popularity (Bonney et al. 2009, Danielsen et al. 2014; Aceves-Bueno et al., 2017). These opportunistic datasets can be substantially large, numbering hundreds of thousands of units and present many statistical challenges in terms of sparse and missing data, issues with data collection (e.g. reporting bias and spatial bias) and computational challenges (Dakki et al., 2021; Diana et al., 2022).

Motivated by novelty and emerging spread of such actitivies and statistical issues they bring ahead, the RSS Discussion Paper Meetings Committee, along with the RSS Sections on Emerging Applications and Environmental Statistics, are jointly inviting submissions of discussion papers on the analysis of citizen science data. These papers can cover any methodological or applied aspect or theoretical underpinning on the topic. Examples of topics of interest include (but are not restricted to):

  • High-dimensional approaches and their generalizations in citizen science data analysis;
  • Computational issues in the analysis of citizen science data;
  • Evaluation of the usage of citizen science data in scientific publications;
  • Innovative and emerging citizen science data applications in environmental sciences, health, biology, education and other areas;
  • Democratization of science and statistical literacy in the post-pandemic era;
  • Open source intelligence and open data practices in citizen science;
  • Developments in statistical and data science methods for citizen science data (e.g. causal inference, Bayesian approaches, functional data analysis, machine learning).

Papers selected for publication will be presented at a multi-paper discussion meeting held at the RSS International Conference in Brighton, UK, in September 2024, and subsequently published in one of the series of Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (JRSS), together with all contributions to the discussion at the meeting itself or submitted in writing shortly afterwards. All submitted papers are refereed, both for their scientific quality and their potential to generate discussion. Papers that meet the first criterion but not the second may, with the agreement of the authors, be referred to the editors of the Journal for review as a regular paper.

Submitted papers should be substantially shorter than is typical for a single‐paper discussion meeting (16 pages max excluding supplementary material following standard JRSS formatting instructions). We shall employ a two-step process to expedite the peer review process.

Full details are as follows:

  1. Abstract submission. Authors are invited to send a single‐page abstract (400 words max) of their proposed paper to Judith Shorten, the RSS Journals Manager (journal[at] by 30 June 2023.
  2. Full paper submission. Notification of accepted abstracts will be made by 14 July 2023 together with an invitation to submit a full paper. Full papers (16 pages max) should then be submitted via manuscript central to the most appropriate journal series (A, B or C) selecting the “Discussion Paper” option. The deadline for full paper submission is 10 November 2023.
  3. Refereeing. All papers received by 10 November 2023 will be refereed using the Society’s standard criteria for discussion meeting papers (scientific quality and potential to generate discussion).
  4. Final versions of accepted papers will be ready for pre‐printing by mid‐2024.

Informal enquiries about the call can be made by email to the Discussion Papers Editor, Adam Sykulski at

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