EXPLORATOR - Crowdsourcing platform

EXPLORATOR is a citizen science project of the Herbarium of the University of Coimbra to digitise the largest portuguese biological collection. By contributing to its digitisation, it is facilitating the investigation of botanists worldwide.

The Herbarium joined the global effort to accelerate the study of plant diversity. Experts need quick access to the 392,353,689 specimens that exist in herbariums around the world and all the information they contain. This quick access helps research and knowledge about plants to advance, being possible to find timely solutions to problems that affect ecossystems.

Databasing large biological collections and providing their information on the internet is a lengthy process for which we ask the collabotation of all.

The European Commission has been promoting Citizen Science as a way of democratizing science, bringing academia and society closer together, promoting scientific literacy and an active participation of the public in decisions.

How it works?

In EXPLORATOR, is suggested to the user an image and a form to write the relevant data, one field at a time, which makes it easy to progress throughout the session. Each field has a help icon to answer the most common questions. When a value is submitted, the platform verifies if different values have been submitted for that field, which helps to avoid errors by mistake or distraction, but can also help less experienced users to better understand the type of information requested.

In order to allow users to become familiar with the herbarium specimens and the type of information it contains, only easy identification fields are required at an early stage. As users respond, their responses are validated. The number of responses considered correct allows the user to level up, with more complex fields being requested. There are 5 user levels.

Data validation can be manually done by a platform administrator, but preferably it is done automatically, taking into account the values submitted by different users for the same field. Since there are users with different levels, the values submitted have different quotes according to experience.


Validated submissions

Attributes points/ submission