Of interest to very few

I use the iNaturalist app regularly. Its developers call it “social media for naturalists.” But iNaturalist (called “iNat” for short) is also used by scientists to gather data. I’m interested in how iNat is both social media, and citizen science / participatory science. With that in mind:

Here are links to a sampling of published papers about scientific use of iNat:

Also of interest: “Assessing the accuracy of free automated plant identification applications.” It’s not clear whether this paper assessed the full iNaturalist app, or Seek by iNaturalist. The Seek app uses only machine identification, while the iNaturalist app also includes human review of machine identifications. Regarding this paper, one of iNaturalist’s developers writes (on the iNat Forum), “…their descriptions of it sound more like the iNaturalist app, not Seek by iNaturalist.” Either way, it looks like iNat provides excellent identification.

Finally, iNat users have the option of choosing several licenses when uploading photographs, ranging from full copyright protection through Creative Commons licenses, to public domain. But choosing full copyright protection means that scientists are not able to use the uploaded iNat data. Therefore, if you want to do participatory science using iNat, you need to choose a license that allows your observations to be translated to the GBIF standard. Public domain up to Creative Commons BY-NC licenses can be translated to GBIF.

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