Wikipedia thanks you

I’ve spent the past two weeks doing outreach and messaging users on iNaturalist. I’ve located observations with identifications marked as research-grade where no image existed on Wikimedia Commons or Wikipedia and asked them to consider re-licensing their image in order to display the images of species on Wikipedia.

I wrote a bit about this in The Signpost, Wikipedia’s own newsletter:

So to all users who have agreed to re-license your photos under a compatible license (No Copyright (CC0)”, ”Attribution”, or ”Attribution-ShareAlike”), I just wanted to say thank you!


Welcome to the Forum and thanks for your work!

Here is a related discussion you might like.


I love this idea.


Thanks for what you do on Wikipedia :)


Great work! iNaturalist is indeed a very nice source for high quality images. There is also an edition of Wikipedia weekly on this matter. One of the community members wrote a script that allows selecting images with Wikipedia compatible licenses;

For those active on both platforms, there is a [wikiproject] ( that aims at streamlining the reuse of content between iNaturalist and the WIkimedia platforms.


I wonder if I have any useful images and how to learn about adding images to Wikipedia. I read and it seems like pictures of plants which I took myself should always be fine as far as copyright goes, but I wonder: is any attempt to made to verify that the plant in the image is the species I say it is? Are they going to take my word for it?

Hi Amy, yes there might indeed be some of your images that would be useful additions to Wikipedia articles!

Either you or anyone else can upload any of your images as long as you have first assigned one of the three permissible types of sharing licenses (CC0, CC-BY, or CC-BY-SA) to the image, and not the CC-BY-NC license that you appear to be using as the default on your images. This is to ensure that the images can be legally shared on the Wikimedia Commons website.

To check if one of your images is needed you can search for the taxon name on English Wikipedia to see if the article already has an image. If it does not have an image, then you could search on Wikimedia Commons to see if an available image for that organism already exists.Then, if no image already exists on Wikimedia Commons, you could upload one of yours once it has a permissible sharing license.

Only images from observations that have reached Research Grade (RG) are acceptable for uploading to Wikimedia Commons. These images, especially if they are used on a Wikipedia article, will then come under additional scrutiny by other editors. In one or two cases, I received feedback that an image was misidentified. This information was then relayed back to the original observation on iNat. Some organisms, such as plants, have a dedicated group of editors who monitor articles within their project through an automatically generated list of recent changes. Also, the more popular an article is (ie page-views), the more likely a reader may also comment on the identification of an image.

I have been systematically going through the contributions of some users to determine if their iNat images could be used on Wikipedia and have found almost 900 such images since the start of this year. Each of those iNat users was then given a short thank-you note with a link to the article in which their image(s) were featured. In several cases, I have requested if users would change an existing image license to be able to share a unique observation. I am happy to report that almost all users have made these changes and many positive feedback messages have been received. So far, I have focused mainly on images from observations recorded in Columbia and Mexico as they are less likely to be already present in the Wikimedia Commons database than images of species found in the USA or western Europe.

Again, don’t hesitate to ask me for any further assistance required to complete this process.



Thank you for your explaintion. Unfortunately it’s the stipulation the images be RG that will rule mine out—the only photos I have which wouldn’t already be on Wikipedia are botanical garden specimens. Captive plants are not eligible for research grade, and the ones I upload, being both captive and uncommon species, almost never have a second identifier.


Research Grade is not a stipulation/requirement at all for uploading to Wikipedia (Wikimedia Commons). Your botanical garden specimens are welcome.


Thanks Cassi, I have been operating under the direction of the iNat staff member who advised me to hesitate before sharing any non-Research Grade image with Wikipedia. As botanical garden specimens are often also labeled by signs at the garden itself, this would in effect constitute a second confirmatory identification despite their “captive” status inhibiting the observation as Research Grade on iNat.

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I’ve had to update file names and descriptions on Commons based on the IDs on even Research Grade observations being later revised. And many obscure species may take years for another person to add a confirming ID, if ever. So no hard rules, but Research Grade is a reasonable start!


To be honest it’s more of a first identification, since in several of the cases I haven’t found a good way to confirm the ID the garden gave to their plant. Some of the species have other observations on iNat, but some don’t. I might be able to tag in some other identifiers on the plants that do have other observations, but otherwise I haven’t any proof beyond a cursory Googling to see if other websites have info, and of course no guarantee any of that is correct! I have access to a botanical-books-only library, but I haven’t tried searching there yet.

At any rate I have about 20 species which I think I want to upload to Wikimedia Commons. Should I just go for it or should I try harder to confirm their IDs? There are 2 species which seem like particularly low-hanging fruit (pardon the potential pun) because they do have stub articles on Wikipedia but no photos. Acanthogilia gloriosa I can probably get jrebman to confirm and that would be very solid. But the other one, Trichodesma scottii I am iNat’s only identifier, and iNat’s only two observations are the same garden specimen, photographed once by me and once by another local user. A handful of other people on Google image search have photos of a specimen growing at Kew, and then one commercial nursery has info on it but again they actually got their info/original plants from the same garden I did. So it’s all very circular and not definitive.

Hi Amy,

It sounds like you should upload the images if you want to give it a try. You can use the “Upload Wizard” on Wikimedia Commons to start. Although you can edit Wikipedia without logging in, you cannot upload an image file to Wikimedia Commons without a user account. If you don’t have an account already, setting one up will allow you to track your edits and will show your user name in the article history instead of your IP address.

To help you identify which of your images you may wish to upload, here is a link to a side-by-side comparison of your life list of observations with a list of those taxa that have already been checked to see if an image of that taxa exists on Wikimedia Commons (and by extension, exists on an English Wikipedia article if one on that subject exists). I don’t know if you are able to edit it (by pushing “Add” on one of the entries in the left hand column), but try not to do so unless you have checked that an image is already present on Wikimedia Commons as I use the “Wikipedia List” to make my image reviews more efficient.

Good luck

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Thank you to everyone who is connecting the iNaturalist and Wiki images and communities! Is it possible to quantify the number of wikimedia images sourced from iNaturalist and/or used in wikipedia articles? I think that would be an interesting number to track and share with the iNaturalist community.


Hi Carrie, this would be a very difficult feat to track all the images that have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and then used in a Wikipedia article.

While there are presently 161,061 images in Wikimedia Commons that have the word “iNaturalist” somewhere in their file metadata, only the first 9k appear to be images from observations, as later search results switch to category listings (not images) and additional results greater than 10k cannot be returned. However, given the priority with which the search engine displays results (word in image file name, word in image metadata, categories, then scanned books) and the requirement to list the source of an image, it seems likely that there are about 9.3k images uploaded from iNat. There is also a module within Wikimedia Commons named iNaturalist2Commons that appears to have been used to automate the uploading of over 3k of these images.

At least 579 images sourced from iNat have been manually verified and a new license-checking bot for images tagged as being sourced from iNat has processed a further 4,852 images since starting operation in July this year. Unfortunately, these numbers do not accurately reflect the actual rate at which new iNat images are being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons as both categories were working off of a backlog of images waiting for review. Additionally, it is unknown what proportion of iNat images uploaded were tagged for this category of image review .

Now for the harder part, once an image has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, it may then be featured on multiple Wikipedia projects or none at all. There are over 300 different language Wikipedias that can draw from images stored on Wikimedia Commons. Some language Wikipedias will populate the infobox (or taxobox) on an article automatically with an associated image based on the image links stored in the corresponding Wikidata (another sister project) entry while many others are manually added to each individual article page. The metadata of each image file on Wikimedia Commons contains a list of the different projects that the image is currently being used on (example here). A single Wikipedia, like English Wikipedia, may use the same image in multiple taxon levels. Therefore, the total number of articles on Wikipedia featuring an image originally sourced from iNaturalist could be orders of magnitude lower (or higher) than the number of images estimated to be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons.

Metrics are useful to track the progress of an activity, but can be difficult to measure when not designed into the system from the start. In this case the process is not straightforward, or even a single process that is identical between different users. While we may be able to determine a lower bound of the total number of images uploaded, the number currently being used in articles may not be estimated so easily.

If you would like, I can contact the authors of the iNaturalist image review bot on Wikimedia Commons to see if they have any additional insight into the total numbers and rate of iNat images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. However, to determine the numbers of images used within Wikipedia articles you would have to write a script that reviewed the metadata of each image file on Wikimedia Commons that was tagged as being sourced from iNat and then counted the number of articles listed.


Using the GLAMorous tool, I can see that out of the 7.121 images tagged on Wikimedia Commons in Category:Media from iNaturalist there are 1397 district images being used in articles on WIkipedia’s “article pages” (not counting talk pages, project pages, etc.) on 5226 different articles (including different language pages).

Using the GLAMorgan tool, it is possible to calculate the view number of pages that include one of these files from a specific Commons category. (Human views only, article namespace only.). These were the result for this month alone:

7,126 files in category tree.
1,245 files were viewed, out of 1,398 used.
5,026 pages on 75 wikis use those files.
309,684 file views in 2020-10.
Data for 28 pages could not be loaded from the WMF pageview API (404 error).

Feel free to run these tools yourself!

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