Why good citation practices are important
Good citation practices ensure transparency and reproducibility by guiding others to the original sources of information. They also reward data-publishing institutions and individuals by reinforcing the value of sharing open data and demonstrating its impact to their stakeholders and funders.
Tracking data use and reporting on ways VAL is used (our impact) is an important part of our work. It helps to safeguard ongoing investment and commitment from sponsors to maintain and improve the VAL’s digital biodiversity infrastructure, and provide open, usable, shareable data to users across research, government, community and schools.
Different ways to cite VAL
The type of citation best suited to your needs depends on:
- what type of information you use (e.g. data, images, or perhaps you are collaborating with us)
- which part of VAL you use (e.g. a dataset, downloaded data, one of our tools such as the Spatial Portal), and
- how you use the information (e.g. in a publication, on a website, developing a new app)
Acknowledging VAL as a whole
Users of VAL are requested to acknowledge the Vermont Atlas of Life in any publications resulting from use of VAL facilities, as follows:
To acknowledge the VAL as a partner or collaborator
The Vermont Atlas of Life is made possible by the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and contributions from its funders, partners, and volunteer community scientists.
Citing specific information from the ALA
Citing occurrence record data downloaded from VAL
VAL automatically creates a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for every occurrence record data download. Please ensure the DOI is cited in any publications utilizing data within a download.
Details on your data download and the associated DOI can be found in the email for the download. In addition, the entire history of a user's occurrence record downloads, including all associated DOIs, can be found in the registered user's 'My Profiles' area: ‘View your downloaded records’. Please contact us if you require any assistance.
Citing occurrence record data accessed using VAL web services
VAL web services
It is up to the user to identify dataset publishers and properly acknowledge each of them when citing the data.
If you are downloading occurrence data directly through the VAL web services, it is recommended you use the offline download method and pass mintDOI=true as a parameter, along with a valid email address. More information can be found at here.
Citing a Specific VAL project or atlas
Specific VAL projects often have a suggested citation on the web site, datasets with DOIs, or lists of reports and publications. For example:
For the Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas website:
McFarland, K.P., L. Richardson, and S. Zahendra. 2015. Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas. Vermont Center for Ecostudies – Vermont Atlas of Life. Retrieved from http://val.vtecostudies.org. DATE ACCESSED.
For a publication or report from the Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas:
Richardson, L. L., K.P. McFarland, S. Zahendra, and S. Hardy. 2018. Bumble bee (Bombus) distribution and diversity in Vermont, USA: a century of change. Journal of Insect Conservation. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-018-0113-5.
For a dataset from the Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas:
McFarland K, Hardy S, Zahendra S, Richardson L (2020): Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas 2012 - 2014. v1.4. Vermont Center for Ecostudies. Dataset/Samplingevent. http://ipt.vtecostudies.org/ipt-2.3.5/resource?r=bumblebeeatlas1213&v=1.4
Citing VAL web pages
Those wishing to cite VAL's website in general can use the following example:
Please Note: This approach is not an accepted alternative for citing data downloads.
Users can cite non-data pages on the VAL website as, for example:
Citing a Species page (including occurrence distribution maps)
Species page should be cited in the following way:
Should a species occurrence distribution map taken from an VAL Species page be reproduced, please ensure that all attributions at the bottom of the image are retained. Otherwise, please cite Leaflet, OpenStreetMap and Carto DB in addition to the VAL.
Note: If making assertions about the distribution of a given taxon, consider creating an occurrence record download. This will ensure a persistent time-stamped snapshot of data with a DOI that can be cited in the same way as occurrence data downloads.
Citing a List
Lists are a convenient way to work with data in the ALA. If you have utilized an existing list, please cite it in the following way:
Citing information retrieved via the VAL Spatial Portal
VAL's Spatial Portal comes with a suite of tools to import, display, analyse and export spatially referenced data and analytical results. The Spatial Portal has been designed to provide maximum flexibility when dealing with spatial data, such as species, species attribute, areas and environmental layers. Combinations of these elements can be combined using the Spatial Portal's tools. Due to its versatility, it is up to the user to identify all elements (such as occurrence records, map data, spatial layers etc) that require acknowledgement and properly cite each of them when producing written materials. This also includes screenshots taken of any maps or outputs of data analysis tools such as the Scatterplot.
Some of the most commonly utilised elements of the Spatial Portal that may require attribution are:
|Species occurrence records|
For citing exported occurrence records, please refer to 'Citing occurrence record data downloaded from the ALA'. Please note that if you download point data that includes information derived from specific Spatial Layers, these layers should be acknowledged in accordance with the licence in the metadata at https://spatial.ala.org.au/layers.
Ensure all records used to create the map are of a license that permits that use. The Spatial Portal's base map may be Openstreetmaps or Google or the ALA's country outline. In the former cases, under 'Map options', there is an information icon (i) next to the map that links to the relevant information. For example, you can credit OpenStreetMap as: https://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright/en.
Spatial layers available in the Spatial Portal include environmental (e.g., temperature), contextual (e.g., States and Territories) and biodiversity surfaces as well as named areas in the Spatial Portal's gazetteer. Details on layers, including their licencing notes and citation information can be found in the metadata from https://spatial.ala.org.au/layers, or in the information icon pop-up located next to the mapped layer name in the Spatial Portal. For example, the required citation for the 'CAPAD 2016' Terrestrial layer' is "‘Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD) 2016, Commonwealth of Australia 2017".
Usage of particular Spatial Portal tools (e.g., AOO and EOO Tool, Scatterplot, Tabulate) should be attributed as follows:
To cite the Spatial Portal itself, please use:
Belbin, Lee (2011). The Atlas of Livings Australia’s Spatial Portal. In, Proceedings of the Environmental Information Management Conference 2011 (EIM 2011), Jones, M., B. & Gries, C. (eds.), 39-43. Santa Barbara.
Material adapted from the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia by Atlas of Living Australia for the Vermont Atlas of Life.