Is it allowed to post scientific photography (for example, pictures taken during a scientific expedition of fishes out of the water with a scale rule) or museum pictures (for example, pictures of insects pinned in a museum collection) ?
If the specimen was collected by you or the scientific photo was done by you or you were present there and seen the specimen (and have the permission to post photos) you totally can do it and it’s a normal thing, just don’t forget to set the date to the day of collecting!
Museums specimens can’t be posted under your account if they were collected by someone else. But if the person is still alive and you know them you can cooperate with them and create a separate account for their collections.
If you’re going to post specimens, you’ll also want to make sure that the location is set to where it was collected, rather than to the museum.
But imagine that I was offered a insect collection that was created by someone else. Could I upload photos of specimens of that collection?
No, only if you saw the specimen alive, if it was collected by someone already dead it may be possible to create an account for them, but you need to ask staff if it’s permitted.
If you know when and where the specimens were collected, and you have the right to post the pictures as the collection is yours, why can’t you post the pictures? I’m curious - and I don’t know how it works as no one has ever given me a collection :-)
Because iNat is about your observation of the specimen, you can’t observe something in natural habitat if it was collected 20 years ago in a place you never been to, you can add such observations as casual, but that’s probably not the point of uploading full collections.
Thank you for the quick reply! In this case I/you/X person would be observing the specimen if it’s in our hand, don’t you think? Would it have a bad impact on anyone if the observation is uploaded as casual? It would have a positive impact on people searching for records of the species for sure :-) (and here I want to precise that I’m thinking about known and precise dates and locations for each specimen)
Yes, it’s helpful, but if there’s a possibility to create a separate account for collector it seems more reasonable for me. Yes, you will be observing it in your hand and this observation will be casual as you can’t set the date to the date of collecting, you see it now and in the museum or your apartment, while it was moved intentionally from the original location.
If you have legal ownership of the specimens, that might be no different than posting someone else’s photograph (with their permission) of something you personally observed. (Though in this case you didn’t observe it in the field.) This is done occasionally on iNat, but is not encouraged as a large-scale practice.
Just be aware that the observations and photographs will all be displayed on iNaturalist as
(c) joaolemoslima some/all rights reserved unless they are posted with the CC0 license. Personally I would not feel comfortable having things attributed to me that were not originally created by me. Maybe if you are able to justify (and legally) create an iNat account in the name of the collector, that kind of awkwardness could be avoided.
Just thinking out loud here… not recommending or advocating one way or the other.
Creating a separate account is also useful for institutional observations. For example, when my employer asked me to upload some of our camera trap photos for educational purposes, I did so under an account named for the group, as I did not personally take the photos. It seems to me that an account could be created for a natural history collection that had good data, as appropriately as for a camera-trapping scheme. Especially if the data on those specimens is not otherwise available, this seems to me a worthwhile addition.
This old discussion topic is relevant here:
Thank you for your explanation, it makes a lot of sense!
I think the discussion @jdmore linked is an excellent resource for this but long. To mention a few key points:
iNat can be used for uploading some research specimens, but isn’t intended for large scale digitization of scientific collections.
One issue with scientific collections being added to iNat is that many collections are already linked to GBIF, and, as iNat RG observations are added to GBIF as well, they may be “double-counted” in any analyses based on that data.
If adding observations from collections occurs on an occasional basis it’s probably ok, as long as the rights issues are addressed. Good examples might be particularly valuable observations, adding species not currently represented on iNat, etc.
If the collection you’re talking about is a personal collection not included in any institutional collections, I would guess it would be ok to make an account for that collection and post observations from specimens it to a limited extent, but it is kind of an “off-brand” use of iNat, as the focus of iNat is really documenting interactions between people and other organisms in nature.
I already added, you can add your photo and it will be a casual observation. Other way it’s ridiculous, let’s make our life lists from collections! Spend day at local collection and get a thousand species, come on.
That’s right. Of course, the specimen’s location MUST be the one stated in the collection labels.
In my case, I work in very remote places in the Ecuadorian rainforests (sometimes the Amazon or remote places in the Galapagos). It is not possible to upload pictures in the field, as there’s not internet connection or cell phone access in such zones. In the case of fishes, for example, we took pictures of the specimens, but we didn’t take them back to the museum as we can’t carry much weight. Sometimes it’s hard to take pictures of the specimens alive, because we have to use traps to collect them (that’s the case for many beetles that you usually don’t see in their normal niches). So we collect them and the only chance we have to take pictures is right after the specimen has been cleaned and mounted.
That’s an example
Yes, that is ok, as long as you are photographing something that you saw earlier in the field, and the date and location on the iNaturalist observation reflect the field location and date.