The Biological Records Centre: a pioneer of citizen science

Pocock, Michael J.O.; Roy, Helen E.; Preston, Chris D.; Roy, David B.. 2015 The Biological Records Centre: a pioneer of citizen science. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115 (3). 475-493.

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People have been recording wildlife for centuries and the resulting datasets lead to important scientific research. The Biological Records Centre (BRC), established in 1964, is a national focus for terrestrial and freshwater species recording in the United Kingdom (UK). BRC works with the voluntary recording community (i.e. a mutualistic symbiosis) through support of national recording schemes (i.e. ‘citizen science’, but unlike most citizen science it is volunteer led) and adds value to the data through analysis and reporting. Biological recording represents a diverse range of activities, involving an estimated 70 000 people annually in the UK, from expert volunteers undertaking systematic monitoring to mass participation recording. It is an invaluable monitoring tool because the datasets are long term, have large geographic extent and are taxonomically diverse (85 taxonomic groups). It supports a diverse range of outputs, e.g. atlases showing national distributions (12 127 species from over 40 taxonomic groups) and quantified trends (1636 species). BRC pioneers the use of technology for data capture (online portals and smartphone apps) and verification (including automated verification) through customisable, inter-operable database systems to facilitate efficient data flow. We are confident that biological recording has a bright future with benefits for people, science, and nature.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 0024-4066
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: Britain, distribution, monitoring, participation, recording, trends, UK, volunteer, wildlife
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 03 Aug 2015 14:03 +0 (UTC)

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