Publication records on Citizen Science and Marine Litter

Published: 10 May 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/t2gjt7kpk6.1


Peer-reviewed articles and book chapters (which will be referred to as publication records thereon-in) related to or describing citizen science initiatives focused on marine litter were searched. The publication records were retrieved from a survey on Web of Science and ScienceDirect platforms (until 04th August, 2021). Across these 85 publication records, 48 different citizen science initiatives were reported (thus some were reported multiple times). Since some of publication records described more than one CS initiative, each initiative described for each record was analysed independently and considered as a search result, resulting in 92 search results across these 85 publication records. All authors read the same five records (representing a sample of 5.9% of the records) to discuss and review the categories and codes until there was consistency in code assignment. All the names of the categories and their definitions were defined a priori and the authors fulfilled, independently, a table coding those categories for the records of the sample. After this step, the authors shared their results and discussed the inconsistencies obtained in code assignment so that a consensus was reached and a fully shared understanding of how to categorise the search results was reached. If a new category not previously considered was identified during the reading of the full records, the authors discussed how to include it and a revision of all other records already coded was performed to look for the possible presence of this new category. As the focus of this analysis is how citizen science initiatives were being reported within the peer-reviewed scientific literature, we did not consider our previous knowledge about the initiatives and only considered information explicitly reported within or that could be obtained from the records.


Steps to reproduce

Web of Science and ScienceDirect platforms (until 04th August, 2021) were searched using keywords for both “citizen science” and “marine litter”, including their synonyms: Citizen science, Collaborative monitoring, Collaborative research, Collaborative science, Community-based research, Participatory action research, Participatory monitoring, Participatory science, Public participation, Beach clean, Beach litter, Clean-up (or clean up or clean ups), Coastal debris, Litter-pick, Macroplastic(s), Marine debris, Marine litter, Marine macroplastics, Marine plastic, Marine plastic pollution, Microplastic(s), Nurdles, Pellets, Plastic pellets, Plastic pollution. Abstracts from conference proceedings and grey literature (e.g., non-peer-reviewed reports, thesis, and dissertations) were not considered for the present analysis. Initially, we found 8,139 publication records using the search keywords. After removing duplicates, we screened the remaining 1,251 publication records by title, excluding 864 results that were unrelated to citizen science and marine litter (e.g., records related to chemical soil pollution, engineering, design etc.). Then, we read the abstracts of the remaining 387 publication records (Figure 1). If no clear information related to a citizen science initiative or marine litter was found in the abstract, we searched for the keywords “volunteer”, “participant” and “citizen science” in the main text to seek any indication that a citizen science process was described, resulting in a further 268 publication records being excluded. In the last stage, we read the remaining 119 publication records and selected those that explicitly (1) described citizen science initiative(s) (i.e., presenting the protocols, process etc.) and/or (2) presented the results of the citizen science initiative(s) (either the results regarding marine litter data or results evaluating aspects related to the citizens). Publication records describing studies in which the participation of citizens in the scientific process was not reported (e.g., not stating how citizens were involved), or in which the citizens were the subjects of the scientific inquiry (e.g., measuring citizens’ memories and opinions) were excluded. After this process, the final sample consisted of 85 publication records.


Universidade de Sao Paulo, Universidade Federal do ABC Centro de Ciencias Naturais e Humanas, University of Plymouth School of Psychology