Journal archives for May 2017

May 31, 2017

Creative Commons Licensing on images

UPDATE March 2021 - in addition to my entry below here is another good reason you should addopt CC licensing ..,

A number of NZ iNaturalist users apply the 'All rights reserved' license to their photographs. I have decided that from now on I will not provide identifications for such records. Restricting the use of the image in this way makes the record unusable from my perspective, as a scientist, and so I will bypass them. The image is the key piece of information allowing a record to be independently verified at any time in the future and independently of iNaturalist- a fundamental requirement in any area of research. Taxonomic opinions can, and do, change with time as we acquire better knowledge, and so on-going access to the original evidence is always required. 'All Rights Reserved' means the image cannot easily be part of the permanent package of evidence accompanying the record in any use external to iNaturalist, for example they are not uploaded to GBIF. I can understand the desire to derive potential income from images but I don't believe iNat is the place to promote them. If you want to share your records and images to support biodiversity research then adopt a Creative Commons Licence. I recommend CC-BY-NC, which means that your images can be used for non-commercial purposes and you will always be credited for the image, whatever the use. You can negotiate terms if somebody does want to use the image for commercial purposes. Although it is worth saying that even a CC-BY-NC license means the image will not be considered for use on Wikipedia because even that license is considered too restrictive.

For some users the adoption of 'All rights reserved' was probably an oversight when they setup their account. If you want to use a CC license by default then go to your Profile (menu top right of desktop web page), then 'Edit Account Settings and Profile' , scroll down to Licensing-Default Photo License, and tick one of the sensible options. I use CC-BY but I would recommend CC-BY-NC if you think your photos have commercial value. Then, most importantly, tick the box at the bottom that says 'Update existing photos with new license choices' . If you want to maintain 'All Rights Reserved' as the default setting because, for example you are a professional bird photographer, but also submit the occasional fungus, then you can change the license individually on each image for each record.

You may consider it not worth changing your License just to get fungal identifications from me, especially when many of my identifications are at genus level or above. There are reasons to consider and they concern your role as a Citizen Scientist in using iNaturalist. I actively try to look at all the NZ fungal records submitted to iNat (at least for non-bracket fungi). I want to be able to regularly collate the subset of records I can trust and use (and not necessarily accepting community IDs). I'd like to maintain a minimum quality for the data and to keep an eye out for new records of species, which we (every NZ citizen) are required, by law, to report to the government agencies. I want  a consistent quality so the data become fit-for-purpose for research work.

For example over the last year I have used iNat Citizen Science fungal data in the following ways ...

  • iNaturalist NZ images were used in a successful prototype demonstration of the use of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks for automated image recognition. This is a separate NZ based project to the one you may have seen from the iNat guys, and I am focused on biosecurity 'early warning' systems (e.g. detecting rust spores in the wind coming from Australia!)
  • Citizen Science data from iNaturalist NZ was initially included in a research paper investigating the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi and their relationship with host trees when introduced species enter a new area. Data from CS network in the UK and NZ were included. Results derived from a combined 2.2 million observations show species-partnering and hyphal foraging strategies are relaxed (or at least change) upon introduction of a tree into a new area.
  • The iNat community continues to highlight rarely encountered fungal species, facilitating taxonomic/biogeographical research and sequence characterisation (by me). Some of your records and your CC images have been/will be used to describe new species and next year Amanita sp 2 (the Noddy Flycap) will be published with iNat records (your records - if the images are CC)
  • Data (curated data) from iNat has been critical in assessing the threat status of fungi in NZ. This year it supported the inclusion of two NZ species on the IUCN red-list and contributed to DOC’s New Zealand Threat Classification Status (NZTCS). The new fungal list will be published next year
  • Important records this year include:

So, if you want to contribute to this kind of work, then make sure you don't use 'All Rights Reserved' on your fungal images.

Posted on May 31, 2017 08:45 PM by cooperj cooperj | 50 comments | Leave a comment