Motivations and fears driving participation in collaborative research infrastructure for animal tracking
Crewe, TL and Kendal, D and Campbell, HA, Motivations and fears driving participation in collaborative research infrastructure for animal tracking, PLoS One, 15, (11) Article e0241964. ISSN 1932-6203 (2020) [Refereed Article]
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. 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.