The following principles are based on the GEOSS data management principles and are presented here in a tailored version for Citizen Observatory data:
Data discoverability: To make data discoverable, metadata about the data should be elaborated and made public in a catalogue for search engines to find it. Metadata should also state how data should be accessed, used, understood and processed, preferably via formal, structured metadata based on open standards. To avoid losing information and creating confusion, metadata should be produced from the start.
Data access: Data should not be kept in silos but should be accessible via online services, including, at minimum, direct download but preferably user-customisable services for visualisation and computation. Do not wait until your data is perfect. Instead, data should be made available in advance of quality control and flagged in metadata as unchecked. Afterwards, quality-controlled data and the results of quality control will also be shared. The conditions for use, including licenses, should be decided upon and clearly included in the metadata that describes the data. Moreover, the use conditions of sensitive information (e.g. location of endangered species) need to be carefully chosen and indicated.
Data format: Data should be distributed using encodings that are widely accepted in the target user community. The use of open standards will lower the access barrier.
The generation of data should be guided by scientists and eventually exposed in scientific peer-reviewed publications that describe the origin and processing history of raw observations and derived products and their many results and outcomes. During this process, persistent, resolvable identifiers should be assigned to the data.
Acknowledgement: Data contributors should receive acknowledgement for the use of their data if they express a desire for that. Personal information should be kept secure and managed in conformance with the GDPR.
Curation: Data should be protected from loss and preserved for future use. The cost of preservation should not be underestimated and needs to be planned ahead. If the data curator cannot continue, transfer procedures should be activated.
Data should be periodically verified to ensure integrity, authenticity and readability. Data should be kept up to date in accordance with reviews, and reprocessed as needed.