iNaturalist is now the second largest contributor of GBIF-mediated data for Russia

Hi all,

After update of iNat-dataset in GBIF (https://www.gbif.org/dataset/50c9509d-22c7-4a22-a47d-8c48425ef4a7, 6 Feb 2020) iNaturalist become the second largest contributor to GBIF-mediated data on biodiversity of Russia. Total number of GBIF-records from Russia is quite low (ca. 4M), but our achievement is a good sign of community envolvement across the nation. I hope that one day iNaturalist will overcome Moscow University Herbarium (where I am working now) for the number of records.

I would like to thank the Russian community for activity of observers and experts, and especially for the active use of free licenses. For instance, only three out of 40 top-observers of the Russian flora are still using “All rights reserved”.

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Kudos to you and everyone else involved in activating thousands of new iNaturalist participants since 2019. The growth has been phenomenal, and especially noteworthy for the growth in expert contributors as well. Massive growth in some places can be more boom-and-bust, whereas it looks like you’ve built a solid foundation for future growth. I think that the boom-and-bust pattern happens when the growth of novices rapidly outpaces the capacity of identification expertise in an area. I would love to hear for you and others to share what you think has been the recipe for your success in Russia.

It’s also interesting how little eBird data there is from Russia in GBIF (I think eBird records probably handily outnumber iNat records in most countries). Are birders heavily using ru-birds.ru, or is bird data just much less centralized overall?

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One big thing has been that there is a large active Russian community identifying the Russian observations. When I go and try to do my part of the recent observations coming from Russia, it is too late: someone has already done the job. Also the small amount of observations without an ID tells about the same thing.

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To me, one thing that has astonished with the Russian uprising, is that people in-the-middle-of-nowhere have found iNat. Like Altai: tens of people sending observations, and every day something! In a place where electricity is not guaranteed, it is now really cold, lots of snow… kudos indeed!

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I just wonder why iNaturalist data is only partly entered into the gbif database; e.g., all of my own observations are missing there?

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Are your OBs research grade and do your photos license settings meet GBIF requirements?

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Yes, I have >1600 research grade observations, all my photos are licenced under CC Attribution-ShareAlike (without the “non-commercial” clause, so that the photos can be used in Wikipedia if needed). None of these observations are included at gbif, I have no idea why.

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Your image license and observation license are separate, and observations with CC BY-SA are not shared with GBIF (like this one of yours). To be included in GBIF, you should choose a non-SA license. Since in most places you can’t copyright a “fact” anyways, I personally recommend CC0 (public domain) for observations.

There’s another thread you may be interested in here.

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I didn’t noticed that, thanks! I now changed the observation licence to public domain.

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Nice! How did iNat become so popular in Russia in the first place? At any given time I can go to the ID page and the Russia observations are basically the only Eurasian observations I can find. Nothing from the UK, France, or Germany, but a lot from Russia.

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It was covered a bit here, but I’d love to know more.

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There are many birders communities in Russia and Russian-speaking countries (there are at least three old and mature birdwatcher communities here: ru-birds.ru, russia.birds.watch (with the same script as birds.kz) and russiabirds.wildlifemonitoring.ru. Two of them are GBIF-connected. Also, we have had (and having now) some activities to engage new people into these communities. So ebird mostly used by international birders, not by local ones. There are some facebook and VK groups.

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Hi all,

Thanks @kildor for respond. May be someoe else from Russia would like to say something?

To say truely, I have no idea why iNaturalist become so popular in Russia. Well, it’s actually not so popular as it could be (or as you could assume). Currently, we have only 6K+ observers (and only 5K+ were active in 2019 & 2020). Well, there are many very active and hardworking observers with tons of observations, who made their archives available via iNat.
Why they have chosen iNaturalist? In some cases, they migrated from other platforms. iNat made them sure that they can upload their huge archives quite efficiently and smoothly. On the other hand, Russian language interface curated by Katya is a great deal. Also, our project “Flora of Russia” is permanently in the list top-5 (or top-6) recommended projects (thanks iNat stuff for posting it among recommended projects).
In 2019, PR-department of Moscow State University distributed three press-releases about our botany activity in iNat all around Russian media. I guess this helped much as well. Also, I’m always promoting iNat among professional scientists avoiding the wordings that iNat is primarily for citizen science. It is for everyone and could help scientists as a wonderful platform for data collecting and management.
There’s extremely active community of birders as well. Plant hunters are not posting much birds, where as birders made a lot of wonderful observations of plants.
I agree that for plants a community of experts was really an advance. At the moment, top four experts for Russian plants are professional scientists from Moscow University. Altogether they made 170K identifications and I guess many for plants from outside Russia.
There are some diproportions in spatial coverage. Russia is a huge country with sparse population in Siberia and the North. Probably, these stats could be interesting: https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/apseregin/30522-statistika-proekta-flora-rossii-flora-of-russia-po-sub-ektam-rf-na-09-01-2020

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Before I was told about eBird I only knew about one-day counts, like waterfoul count, etc. whih needed the same form as eBird and it sounded like a very odd thing to do. Most people I know don’t use any websites as databases for their bird records, usually they have own lists or just post photos, but that’s a system not similar to eBird, unique for any person in the world I guess. Many true birders are tourists or science-workers who don’t spend their time on such things, from years long ago they made own collections of stuffed birds or b&w photos and usually are not handy with Internet. New generation is 2-sided, it’s either good photos that are uploaded to photo-sites or science with articles, etc. In the middle are people who can be called birdwatchers, they don’t necessarily make photos and if they do they usually just post them in social network websites. And that’s where most of iNatters come from.
Plus as Alexey said Russian interface is the key.

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