Shannon Dosemagen

Reforming environmental data sharing


Shannon Dosemagen

Project: Open Environmental Data

The goal of this project is to develop an open, environmental data repository and improve data interoperability for the public good.

“I spent a couple of months getting my thoughts together on #communityscience, #citizenscience & things that fall in between. It resulted in an article for @sftpmag. The hardcopy came last week (w/ other great articles). Can't wait to share the online version when it's out!”

The Big Idea


Having spent most of her career working openly to restructure science for the environmental benefit of communities, Shannon Dosemagen has seen the field of open science progress exponentially. But her vision of grassroots scientists and communities self-monitoring their local environments has become restricted. Too much focus is placed on tool development; not enough on the systems and processes in which they exist.

Shannon is developing an independent, open environmental data repository as a response to the increasingly pressing issues surrounding how we share, maintain and use environmental information. Her idea moves the field towards interoperability and open governance to ensure critical data is held in the commons for society’s benefit. This will potentiate a broader scope of research and enable communities to address unmet local environmental issues.

Why We Funded


By now, it is quite clear that many industries do not have our collective environmental health at heart, or in mind, and that there are major gaps in the ability for government to do their job of creating impactful policy and enacting it. Equally, there is no single innovation that will instantly improve environmental quality, particularly in marginalised communities that have become the dumping ground for the world’s toxins. However, Shannon’s idea of collectively working with an accessible archive of data is part of a possible solution. More often than not, local communities are in the best position to care for their local environments. They must have easy access to essential data that not only inform them of their surroundings but act as a beneficial, practical resource, and offers protection from public health issues and industry polluters.

We support Shannon because her idea has enormous potential to provide greater depth of evidence to influence environmental policy in the future; not just in the United States, but across the globe. This is work that is critically important to the open science movement, too. Shannon has identified a significant problem with siloed innovation and the need for a level of standardisation to build stronger, more collaborative foundations for a future sharing economy.

Shannon’s work focuses on:

  • Exploring impacts of context, integration, privacy and leadership on environmental data held in the public trust
  • Researching, modelling and developing a framework for environmental monitoring hardware interoperability
  • Establishing an open governance model