Why do you need this? Selective disclosure of data among citizen scientists

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


Recent scandals involving data from participatory research have contributed to broader public concern about online privacy. Such concerns might make people more reluctant to participate in research that asks them to volunteer personal data, compromising many researchers’ data collection. We tested several motivational messages that encouraged participation in a citizen science project. We measured people’s willingness to disclose personal information. While participants were less likely to share sensitive data than neutral data, disclosure behaviour was not affected by attitudes to privacy. Importantly, we found that citizen scientists who were exposed to a motivational message that emphasised ‘learning’ were more likely to share sensitive information than those presented with other types of motivational cues. Our results suggest that priming individuals with motivational messages can increase their willingness to contribute personal data to a project, even if the request pertains to sensitive information.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019) - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019)
CountryUnited Kingdom
City Glasgow


  • Privacy, Citizen science, Motivation, Dabblers, Disclosure