Use of your own photos both on Inaturalist and in scientific papers (transferring copyright etc)

I am pretty week in all that copyright stuff, but AFAIK, when you publish a paper in (most of) scientific journals, you transfer all the rights(on both text and images) to the journal. So, if you published photo in scientific paper in a journal, you should not post same photo on INat afterwards(as an easy way to add GBIF record or just for fun cause your like your original photo etc). Is it true?

Is it ok, to post on INat an original photo, if the photo in journal is heavily modified(cut and made as a part of a table for example)?

And what is more important question for me personally: Is i possible to use your own photos in scientific papers if they are already published on INat?

That sounds weird, but on INat page we usually have some kind of CC license on them, and journal would(want to?) have full copyright on image? So, It is possible to use CC images in Wikipedia, but not in scientific paper, cause full copyright should be transferred to journal?

Looks like I am somewhere wrong in my reasoning, but I could not get where exactly… Maybe I could not get which type of rights(full copyright vs exclusive rights) is wanted by journals…

That somewhat bothers me, because I tend to think about any of my photos before uploading: “Would I(or my colleague) ever use this photo in a paper or not…”…

As I understand, INaturalist was partly designed to help scientist to have legal access to photos for illustrative purposes. But I do not understand how all this CC licenses interact with transferring of copyright to the journal etc…

This is definitely a complex issue and will vary with individual publishers, so you should definitely check individual policies. But overall, if it is an image you created you are highly unlikely to ever encounter issues regarding how you use it. Many of the major publishers now actually allow you to freely distribute images from publications, regardless of copyright status. It is distributing the entire papers they usually have problems with.

If you upload images to iNat I strongly suggest using the CC-BY license (not SA or NC ones). This not only allows use on other website, like Wikipedia, but essentially allows unrestricted use of your images (other than you being attributed for its creation whenever used). So theoretically you can use it or modify it in a copyrighted publication without issue. If something has already been published under a CC license, it will essentially be available as such forever, regardless of how a publisher wants to copyright it. I doubt anyone would actually reject your image based on the fact that it’s already under a CC license. And modified versions of CC-BY images can be placed under more restrictive licenses, I believe. But again, it’s the entire document publishers really care about, not usually individual images.


And as for your first question about already published photos, if you have the right to use them, then yes you can. The only reason I would caution you against using them is if they represent a published record that could be incorporated into GBIF outside of iNat. So that you are not creating duplicate records.

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