Advancing sustainability: using smartphones to study environmental behaviour in a field-experimental setup

Tracking #: 532-1512

Responsible editor: 

Emilio Ferrara

Submission Type: 

Position Paper


Ecological sustainability is the defining challenge of our time. Here we suggest a new methodological approach that could help to investigate how environmental behaviour (transport behaviour, energy consumption, food consumption, goods consumption, wasting) dilemmas can be overcome on an individual level in real life by using smartphones to collect daily behavioural data in a field-experimental setup. Previous related studies are reviewed and we discuss how the boundaries of what can be done with smartphones for data collection and experimental purposes can be pushed further to allow for complex behavioural studies. We also present results from a pilot study to discuss the feasibility and potential of this approach. The pilot shows that studying social dilemma behaviour via smartphones is feasible and has potential value as an behavioural intervention tool.


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Previous Version: 


  • Reviewed

Data repository URLs: 

The data will be published on UK Data Service ReShare, I'm currently preparing it for publications. The URL will be provided shortly.

Date of Submission: 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Date of Decision: 

Friday, June 1, 2018



Solicited Reviews:

1 Comment

Meta-Review by Editor

Two of the three referees are still profoundly unsatisfied by the status of the paper which requires a significant amount of revision to be considered for publication. Please address all comments provided by the referees alongside with a detailed letter of response describing in great details how the comments have been addressed in the manuscript. Another round of revision may or may not be granted afterward depending upon how satisfactory will be the revised manuscript.

Emilio Ferrara (