Motivations and fears driving participation in collaborative research infrastructure for animal tracking

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    Abstract

    Anthropogenic derived environmental change is challenging earth’s biodiversity. To implement effective management, it is imperative to understand how organisms are responding over broad spatiotemporal scales. Collection of these data is generally beyond the budget of individual researchers and the integration and sharing of ecological data and associated infrastructure is becoming more common. However, user groups differ in their expectations, standards of performance, and desired outputs from research investment, and accommodating the motivations and fears of potential users from the outset may lead to higher levels of participation. Here we report upon a study of the Australian ornithology community, which was instigated to better understand perceptions around participation in nationally coordinated research infrastructure for detecting and tracking the movement of birds. The community was surveyed through a questionnaire and individuals were asked to score their motivations and fears around participation. Principal Components Analysis was used to reduce the dimensionality of the data and identify groups of questions where respondents behaved similarly. Linear regressions and model selection were then applied to the principal components to determine how career stage, employment role, and years of biotelemetry experience affected the respondent’s motivations and fears for participation. The analysis showed that across all sectors (academic, government, NGO) there was strong motivation to participate and belief that national shared biotelemetry infrastructure would facilitate bird management and conservation. However, results did show that a cross-sector cohort of the Australian ornithology community were keen and ready to progress collaborative infrastructure for tracking birds, and measures including data-sharing agreements could increase participation. It also informed that securing initial funding would be a significant challenge, and a better option to proceed may be for independent groups to coordinate through existing database infrastructure to form the foundation from which a national network could grow.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0241964
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages16
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume15
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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