Change text in Data Quality Assessment with licensing restrictions

When users select licenses that are too restrictive for incorporation into GBIF observations that reach the current definition of Research Grade still say “It can now be used for research and featured on other websites” under Data Quality Assessment.

While specific licensing is stated above this area, it is not as prominent and probably many users do not fully understand licensing. So should this text be changed for these more restrictive licenses, stating that while it may be research grade, licensing chosen by the user prohibits use for research and other websites?

I think if research grade were to ever be modified, we should consider whether licensing should be a component of the grade of observations, but that is beyond the specifics here.
Also related - opting out of community id:

I think these are good points, and if it is specifically decided that “Research Grade” only means “Automatically available to GBIF” then this would be a straightforward fix.

But if RG means more than that, then I think mixing issues of data quality and data availability may be troublesome. An all-rights-reserved license doesn’t prohibit use for research, it just requires permission first. Or does it?

What (if any) difference is there between:

  1. Citing a fully copyrighted publication in a scientific paper, with mention of its data and/or conclusions in the text of the paper, or

  2. Citing the URL to a fully copyrighted iNaturalist observation in a scientific paper, with mention of its data and/or conclusions in the text of the paper?

The first is done routinely without asking author permission first; why would the second be any different? If there is a public URL to cite, then is a fully copyrighted iNat observation ever really unavailable for research?

There are couple major differences here.

First, all scientific publications, regardless of copyright, have the expectation that they will be cited. iNaturalist explicitly states that in choosing all rights reserved excludes it from being used for research. You theoretically could cite an individual observation or any website for that matter, but it is very rarely done.

Second, there is nothing that preserves an individual observation that isn’t incorporated into GBIF. Users can delete these observations or iNaturalist can disappear and all evidence of these observations will be gone. Observations that are incorporated into GBIF (and published papers) are preserved with permanent identifiers and version history that allows anyone in the future to see or use the data/paper as it was when it was cited. Or at least until the entirety of the digital world collapses.

I looked around a bit and can’t find where that is stated. Could you point us to it?

I’m seeing URLs cited more and more as information sources these days, and I agree, digital permanence and digital fluidity are big issues with this. I would want to create a static record (PDF, paper hard copy, etc.) of any specific web page if using it as a source.

Maybe it’s not quite as explicit as I though. But on the user settings page on the copyright section it says which licenses are included in GBIF, and on the terms of service page the copyright info is clearly spelled out.

If you’re citing webpages you should archive a copy on the Internet Archive, cite that url as an archived copy, along with the original url. But it doesn’t work for some website, including iNat apparently.

1 Like