Exploring data quality in games with a purpose

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Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


iConference, Berlin, Germany (2014)


A key problem for crowd-sourcing systems is motivating contributions from participants and ensuring the quality of these contributions. Games have been suggested as a motivational approach to encourage contribution, but attracting participation through game play rather than scientific interest raises concerns about the quality of the data provided, which is particularly important when the data are to be used for scientific research. To assess whether these concerns are justified, we compare the quality of data obtained from two citizen science games, one a “gamified” version of a species classification task and one a fantasy game that used the classification task only as a way to advance in the game play. Surprisingly, though we did observe cheating in the fantasy game, data quality (i.e., classification accuracy) from participants in the two games was not significantly different. As well, the quality of data from short-time contributors was at a usable level of accuracy. These findings suggest that various approaches to gamification can be useful for motivating contributions to citizen science projects.