How-to guide

Use the buttons below to navigate to the relevant section of the how-to guide:

Log in or Register

The “Log in” and “Register” pages can be accessed from the right-hand side of the header of the MICS platform and from the left menu-bar on the home page (see orange arrows in the image below).

Social media vs email and password log in: Users can choose to log in with either a social media account or an email and password. In both cases the only information kept about the user is their name and email address. Logging in with social media is quicker but if several users will need to edit the same project it’s best to register an email and password so that log in details can be shared among the team (each project can only be edited by one account).

Log in

The main functions on the “Log in” page are described in the image captions below.

Social media log in: Users can use their Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or GitHub accounts to log in to the MICS platform.

Email and password log in: To create a password log in use the “Registration” button.

Registration (for email and password log in): see section below.

! Users are identified by their email address so social media accounts which use the same email address will lead to the same account in the MICS platform. It is not possible to register for a password log in for an email address which has already been used on the platform including if it has been used for a social media log in.

Register

Users can fill in their details in the registration page to create a log in with an email address and password. This is the best option if several users all need to edit the same project because log in details can be shared. The “user name” is not publicly visible and is only used to help identify users in the back-end database and is displayed in the right-hand side of the platform header to help users know when they are logged in to the platform and with which account.

Once users have filled out their details in the registration page, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address they entered. To start using the account, they will need to first click a link in this email. If a user doesn’t receive a confirmation email they can contact the MICS team [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.] for support. The confirmation email may end up in your spam folder, so it is worth checking this first before contacting the MICS team.

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Create a project

The fields in the “create a project” page are not used to assess the project’s impact. The purpose is to allow projects to customise their page on the platform and display the summary information which is most important to them on their project page and impact report. All the information entered can be edited at a later date once the project is created. There are only three fields required to create a project: project name, short name, and project address. These mandatory fields must also be unique and cannot be the same as another project on the MICS platform.

Data field

Description

*required fields to create a project page.

Project name*

The full project name is only used on the project page and the project impact report. The project name is a unique field and cannot be the same as another project on the MICS platform.

Short name*

The project’s short name is used throughout the platform: in the project catalogue; on the “Your projects” menu; on the project page; on the question interface; and on the project impact report. The short name is a unique field and cannot be the same as another project on the MICS platform.

Project address*

The project address is automatically generated from the short name but can be edited. The project address is used for the URL of the project page and impact report on the MICS platform. The project address is a unique field and cannot be the same as another project on the MICS platform.

! Users should not enter their own project website URL in this field. This will lead to an error when they try to load their project page. This field creates a slug for the project on the MICS platform.

Project description

The project description can include images, quotes, tables, links and other media. It is suggested that project descriptions are kept to a maximum of 200 words to ensure the project page is formatted nicely.

Logo image

This image will be the project’s visual identity on the platform and will be used in the project catalogue, on the “Your projects” menu; on the project page; on the question interface; and on the project impact report. If the project doesn’t have a logo an alternative image can be uploaded or the field can be left blank.  The image uploaded should have a square aspect ratio to ensure it displays properly throughout the platform. There is also a size limit for image files so don’t try and upload a 9MB file.

Banner image

The banner image is used in the project catalogue and on the project page and allows projects to further customise their visual appearance on the platform. If no image is uploaded, the platform will display some generic citizen-science themed imagery taken from the illustrations used throughout the project assessment pages. The image uploaded should be a landscape rectangle with an aspect ratio of around 2:1 (twice as wide as it is high) to ensure it displays properly on the project page. There is also a size limit for image files so don’t try and upload a 9MB file.

Topics

These topics are used to find projects in the project catalogue. They are not used to assess the impact of the project. If you think a topic is missing and would like to make a suggestion, please send an email to Sasha: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Start date

This is the start date of the project, including the project preparation phase not just the citizen science activities. For example, if the project started with a grant, the date the grant was received can be used as the start date. The start date can be in the future if the project hasn’t started yet. Dates can be directly typed into the field in the form “Month name YYYY” e.g. January 2019.

End date

It is possible to enter an end date even if some of the project activities are still running. For example, a Horizon Europe project will have an end-date associated to the end of the grant even if it may be possible for citizen scientists to participate in project activities beyond this date. Dates can be directly typed into the field in the form “Month name YYYY” e.g. July 2022.

Contact name

The contact name doesn’t have to be the same as the name of the user who created the project on the MICS platform. The contact name can be kept blank if the contact email is a joint mailbox.

Contact email

Enter the best email for someone to use if they want to know more about the project. It can be a joint mailbox.

Total cost

The total cost of the project includes:

  • External funding for example from a grant.
  • Internal funding i.e. funding from the organisation(s) which manage the project. This can include the cost of staff time as well as direct expenditure on the project.

The recommended format is currency followed by the amount with spaces used every three digits to make large numbers easier to read (see examples below). Projects can choose to round the number giving (normally to the nearest thousand) or give the precise amount received.

  • €EUR 4 216 000
  • £GBP 35 000
  • $USD  197 000

External funding

External funding is money that comes from outside the organisation(s) managing the project. This field should be the same or lower than the project’s total cost.

Project URL

Enter the URL for the project website. If the project doesn’t have a project website this field could be used to link to the project’s page on a repository such as EU-Citizen.Science.

Organisers’ location

Select the location(s) (by country, continent or worldwide) of all the individuals or entities who run the project. For example, if the project is managed by a consortium, select the countries of each of the partner organisations.

Save

Use the save button to create the project on the platform. All the project information can be edited at a later date.

Editing project information

All the project information entered in the “create a project” page can be edited at a later date by using the “Edit” button on the project page (see orange arrow in the image below).

! It is not possible for users to delete their own projects on the MICS platform. If a user wishes to delete a project they manage on the platform they should email their request to the MICS team [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.].

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Assessment tool

The assessment tool is split over six pages: general, society, economy, science and technology, environment and governance. There is also a “domain map” page which can be used to navigate between the question pages. When logged in, the assessment tool can be accessed from the project page. The “go to assessment” button (labelled “A” in the image below) directs the user to “general” questions page. Alternatively, each of the assessment tool pages can be accessed directly from the links in the impact assessment tools menu (labelled “B” in the image below). The domain progress bars can be used to track which pages still have unanswered questions on them and clicking on each of the progress bars will take users to the corresponding question page (labelled “C” in the image below”).

Domain map

The domain map can be used to navigate between each of the question pages. Each domain on the map is highlighted when hovered over with a mouse and is linked to corresponding question page.

Question pages

The main functions on the question pages are described in the image captions below.

Question path and nodes: on each domain page, questions are distributed along a path. Clicking on a node opens the question interface. Users can scroll up and down the page to view all the questions on the path. Questions which have been answered have a grey background and green border whilst unanswered questions have a pale background and grey border

Project logo and short name: the logo and short name are displayed so users can check which project they are answering the questions for.

Domain label and progress dial: The domain label helps remind users which question page they are on. The progress dial shows how many questions have been answered on this page.

Progress dials for other domains: progress answering the questions in the other domains is shown as a percentage.

Tool bar: there are three links in the bottom tool bar:

  • How-to guide (opens this how-to guide)
  • Go to domain map (redirects the user to the domain map)
  • Return to project page (exits the assessment tool and redirects the user to their project page).

Question interface

The main functions on the question interface are described in the image captions below.

Question label: displays the domain and question number of the current question.

Question text

Answer options: questions in the platform can be single- or multi-answer. Single-answer questions will have circular radio buttons whilst multi-answer questions have square tick boxes. Depending on the resolution of their monitor, users may have to use the scroll bar within the question pop-up to see all the answer options. All answers save automatically.

Question navigation: The left and right arrows at the bottom of the question pop-up can be used to move forward or backwards along the question path without exiting the question pop-up. The “x” closes the pop-up and returns to the domain page. If the question is the last in that domain, the right arrow will be replaced with a map icon which returns the user to the “domain map” page.

Help and information text: some questions on the platform come with additional help and information text displayed as a blue question mark button and an orange “i” button. Clicking on these buttons will open a pop-up with text and often links to other resources. If you still have difficulties with the question having read all the available help and information text or want to make a suggestion for how the question could be improved you can get in touch with Sasha from the MICS team via email [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.].

! mics.tools is a living platform, the content is not static and will be updated. There is therefore a chance that the order of questions and the wording of questions or answer options might change over time. If you have difficulty finding a question again it might be that it’s been moved, reworded or removed.  

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Impact report

The impact report is accessible from the “View impact report” button under the Impact Assessment Tools menu in the lower half of the project page (see orange arrow in the image below). Users are able to access the project page and impact report for all projects on the platform, not just for the projects they manage. There is a small impact score section at the bottom of the project page, but the majority of the scores and feedback are contained within the impact report. The scores on the project page are only recalculated when the impact report is accessed.

The impact report is comprised of four sections:

  • Project information: this section provides a brief summary of the project using the information provided on the project page.
  • Rule-based scores: these scores give an indication of the project’s impact on a specific topic and are based on the projects answers to a small sub-set of questions. A full description of these impact indicators is available at: https://about.mics.tools/indicators.
  • Recommendations: The recommendations are determined by the rule-based scores in the previous section. Recommendations often include links to external resources.
  • Machine-learning scores: the final section of the impact report are the machine-learning scores which are also displayed on the project page. The scores are calculated by an algorithm which will be regularly retrained.

! mics.tools is a living platform, the content is not static and will be updated. Users with suggestions for new questions, indicators or recommendations can send their suggestion to Sasha from the MICS team via email [This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.].

Sharing the impact summary

All project impact reports can be shared by their URL and are accessible to the public. The URL’s all follow the same structure:

                https://mics.tools/projects/project-address/summary

The project impact reports can also be printed or downloaded as a PDF using the browser’s print function. For example, in the Chrome browser the process to download the impact report as a PDF is as follows:

  1. Open the project’s impact report in the Chrome browser.
  2. Use Ctrl + P to print the page.
  3. Under destination, select “Save as PDF”.
  4. Under margins, select “None”.
  5. Make sure that “Background graphics” are selected so that the report displays with the same colours as on the platform.
  6. Click “Save”.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 824711.

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