Archive of papers published with iNat data and feasibility of disseminating to submitters?


Two part question:

Does iNaturalist have an archive of papers published using data submitted on it? I’ve been able to find some several-years-old chatter from iNat staff wanting to set one up, but haven’t been able to find out if it was actually implemented.

This one’s more of a long shot—what’s the feasibility of setting up a system to alert users when a paper that may have used their data has been uploaded? Maybe by recording what data is pulled somewhere, then linking the pull list to the paper once uploaded? I’ve been thinking about positive feedback for submitters and, if that could be pulled off, it would be a really affirming one.

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Data users— what are your use cases and requests for exporting data?

[FYI, moved to General since this isn’t a feature we’re going to implement any time soon]

(1) No we don’t, and (2) sorry, we can’t. There’s currently no comprehensive way for us to know when a published paper uses iNat data. The best source of this information we’ve got is GBIF’s record of papers that have cited their exports that include iNat records, which they’re able to do because they publish a unique DOI with each of their exports that authors can cite and GBIF can then programmatically search for. In theory, some day GBIF might allow us to retrieve lists of iNat observations that were included in these cited exports so we could notify individual observers, but to my knowledge that hasn’t happened yet. Even if it did, though, the link remains tenuous: a researcher might export a lot of data from GBIF but not actually use all the data in the export.


I have used existing (and non existing) data of iNaturalist data directly (not via GBIF) in this investigation’S_AND_ALBERT_SCHWARTZ’S_CONTRIBUTION_TO_THE_BUTTERFLY_FAUNA_OF_HISPANIOLA
The very point of this research was, that close to every species described by A. Schwartz back in the last century was either refound by other researchers (published literature, BoLD), or had a photo in facebook, or had a record in iNaturalist. While none of the new species or new records of K. Johnson for Hispaniola, has been refound by other researchers (published papers, BoLD), none had a photo on facebook and none a record in iNaturalist.
There was no space in the abstract to detail the methods, but for iNaturalist this means, that every butterfly observer on Hispaniola has contributed to this research.
Similar research might be needed for most of South America, where K. Johnson described a lot of other butterfly “species” …

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I suppose one could set up a wiki topic on this forum, and the community could curate it as relevant papers come to light. Might suggest adding two links for each entry, one to the paper itself, and (when possible) one to the observation filter that encompasses as closely as possible what was used by the paper.


I suppose it also depends on the scope and context of the papers. Smaller observational ones may fall through the cracks.

In November I coauthored a paper on toad predation by a theraphosid spider as a result of an iNat observation. I am coauthoring another manuscript (in press) which is similar but this time relates to predation of a snake.

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Oh well, but thanks for the info! Yeah, I know it would never be a complete archive (I’m a collections manager in a museum, so I know how often researchers never follow up on promises to provide copies of papers or even publication alerts), but even partial is better than nonexistent.

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I fundamentally agree, partial is better than nothing at all. Let me know if you want copies of the papers I mentioned, I can send you the published one already and could send the other one once published. Nothing exciting, just small observation papers but they demonstrate that iNaturalist users can contribute interesting records to those of us working in museums.


I think this is an excellent idea.

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This recent paper (which has gained some exaggerated media attention) explicitly discusses the value of iNat observations of a certain kind (in a positive light) and makes reference to some of my observations of the new species described therein. It doesn’t actually use the iNat data in a formal structured way, however, it just basically says, for example, that Acizzia errabunda is also present in Auckland, based on my observations of it on iNat.


Sure, I’d love to see them!


Not sure if it is in the right place yet, but I’ve started a wiki to capture publications like this. It’s not the place to repeat those listed in the link @kueda gave, I think (there were 245 articles listed there when I checked) but to record papers that rely on iNaturalist without the use of GBIF. I’m sure there are already quite a few others which hopefully people can add as time goes on.