Popularizing Non-Collection Projects

What is the best way to popularize a non-collection project or a project idea with observers and identifiers?

There are some regional projects, such as the Galls of North America and Leafminers of North America, which I think merit global counterparts. These projects are valuable because they collect observations of extended phenotypes that can look similar across unrelated taxa to non-experts. As it stands, many observations of galls and leafmines outside North America are left with very broad IDs (e.g. Pterygota or Life) with very little chance of reaching the experts who may be able to identify them.

While anyone could theoretically create a project to encompass these observations, projects like these are generally only helpful if they become popular with both observers and identifiers. Observations need to be added manually since the project encompasses many taxa, and identifiers are unlikely to look through them unless they reach a critical mass of observations. One of the main ideas I had was contacting expert identifiers to be curators/managers/admin on the project and message people to add their observations to the project. I would be open to other input or ideas.

Additionally, since there are already regional projects in these two cases, should there be new projects created for observations in other regions and an umbrella project that includes all the regional projects, or is there a better structure to make this work?

Many thanks

EDIT: There are more regional projects for galls and leafminers than just the North American ones, so I have changed the wording

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There’re projects for leafminers from different parts of the world, not only the NA one, likely galls have some too. Add as many as possible observations there, but id rate is not linked to the projects, there’re just specific experts working from the US that id stuff, we lack similar people in other areas. Without those it’s just a database for the future use of yet unregistered iders.

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Sorry, I shouldn’t have implied that the North American projects are the only existing ones for galls and leafminers. I simply meant to point out these two projects as good examples of non-collection regional projects with high engagement from identifiers and observers, and I have edited the language to clarify.

I recognize that there are often more resources and identifiers for these groups in the US, but I was wondering if there is a good way to make a global collection of these observations as a repository for current and future identifiers. In uploading my own observations and looking through others’ observations from the South Pacific (which currently has no encompassing project), I have seen a lot of gall and leafmine observations stuck at very broad ID, and even if there are no current identifiers, I still think it would be valuable to place them in a project for accessibility. Would the best solution be to create regional projects for areas in which there are none and create an umbrella project combining all the existing projects for these groups?


Sure, your proposal is the best way to handle it.

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Yeah, I agree with @Marina_Gorbunova that that’s a great way to handle stuff like that. I’m more partial to having one global project since identifiers can filter the results from there and it’s easier for observers to just keep in mind one project, but either would work!

Also, on the iNaturalist Discord, there’s a channel to share projects if you’re looking for a way to gain new members :)


Hmmm… this is a tangential question, so feel free to skip….

What would be preferred practice when projects overlap?

I used to upload my galls to Galls of California and Galls of North America. But for the last year or do, I’ve only uploaded to Galls of California, thinking that maybe the other project would pull them in. I didn’t want to duplicate the record or the effort.


If ider will click on review in one project it will be reviewed everywhere, it can be added in both for more chances of id, but if you’re not feeling like adding observations to both, there’s nothing bad in that either.

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