Add the field "Identified by" in INat and link it to the GBIF field "identifiedBy"

Add an “Identified by” field that saves the names of the users who agree on the leading ID of research grade observations. This field would appear when downloading data from INaturalist or uploading data to GBIF.
This will allow a better integration of INaturalist data in GBIF, and let scientists filter in GBIF the identifications made by specialists to increase the reliability of the occurrences extracted from INat.

Sorry in advance for my bad spelling, English is my second language.


Not everyone enters their actual name as part of their iNaturalist account - so would you be OK with usernames?

I am aware of this, but still, being able to retrace some mega-identifiers is quite important I think. For example, I know of a world expert on Passiflora that was reviewing observations on INaturalist as part of his work on a monograph of the genus. I think it would be quite valuable to know in GBIF when identifications were made by renowned experts in the field. Most scientists put their real name on their INaturalist profile anyway, and in GBIF the real name of the observers (if specified on their INaturalist account) is already linked to their observations instead of their username. The same could be applied to the persons who add their identifications.


I guess it would be possible to only include in GBIF the name of the identifier if their profile on INaturalist is linked to a name. this could be a nice compromise I think, and reduce the amount of silly names on the GBIF identified_by section.

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We currently populate the identifiedByID field, but only with the ORCID of the person who added the first improving identification that is the same as the observation taxon (here’s an example). We could also populate the identifiedBy field, which would be subject to falsification since anyone can change their name to anything on iNat, but the same is true of the recordedBy, so maybe that’s not a very high risk.

Who to list as an “identifier” is a bit more tricky and it depends a lot on how the field will be used. The whole issue of listing identifiers in our DarwinCore Archives came to my attention because there was a desire for attribution, e.g. people should be able to demonstrate that they’ve made useful contributions to biodiversity datasets both in the form of primary records like observations and specimens and in the form of curatorial acts like identifications. I chose the person who made the first improving identification because that’s the only person that we know didn’t just “agree” with a prior identification. If we list all identifiers, it would be very easy to claim that you performed useful work when all you really did was copy the work of others by adding the third or fourth (or 50th) identification to observations that had already been identified.

However, if the desire is to use the identifiedBy or identifiedByID fields in the way you describe, i.e. to filter occurrences by who identified them, then it doesn’t matter how many people we list as identifiers, as long as the person you’re searching for is on that list.

The two purposes are kind of at odds and I’m not sure how to support them both. We have no concept of a “renowned expert” on iNat, or indeed of any kind of expert, so we can’t just include “expert” identifiers. We could pick some arbitrary limit, e.g. the person who added the first improving identification and the subsequent 5 support identifiers, but that will almost certainly lead to problems if, say, your Passiflora expert was the 10th supporting identifier.

I’m curious to hear what others think about these conflicting uses of this field and what we can do to facilitate them both on iNat.

Background discussion at and


Ok, I asked the powers that be about what the intent of that field was, and they confirmed it was primarily to provide attribution to the person who provided the original identification and not necessarily to track all the people who may have confirmed that identification, so while I will add the identifiedBy field, I won’t populate that and identifiedByID with all the people who added an identification.

@timrobertson100 pointed out that there is an Agent Actions extension in development that might support specifying all the people who added identifications, so maybe if/when that gets supported we can start using it. However, I think iNat will always be a bit of an outlier in the way we handle identifications relative to more controlled systems like physical collections, so it’s possible we may not be able to use such an extension exactly in the way it was intended.