How should I cite iNaturalist?

Modified on Mon, 04 Dec 2023 at 11:32 AM

First of all, if you are publishing based on a small number of observations (roughly fewer than 10), please be sure to reach out to the original observer(s) on iNaturalist and let them know about the importance of their observation. Be sure to credit them as well as any experts who may have contributed to the identification. Please use the following format for citing individual records: [Observer name]. [year of posting to iNaturalist]. iNaturalist observation: [url for observation]. Accessed on [date of access].

If you just want to cite iNaturalist (to refer to it generally, rather than a specific record or set of data), please use the following: iNaturalist. Available from https://www.inaturalist.org. Accessed [date]

Multiple records

Please cite a GBIF download whenever possible! The easiest way for us to track research using iNaturalist is for you to download and cite a corresponding dataset from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Once per week, research grade records on iNaturalist that are licensed for re-use are shared with GBIF. If you need additional records from iNaturalist that are not available from GBIF, you can also cite a dataset downloaded directly from iNaturalist. Citing a DOI for a GBIF dataset allows your publication to automatically be added to the count of citations on the iNaturalist Research-Grade Observations Dataset on GBIF.

If you must cite a download directly from iNaturalist rather than one from GBIF, please use this format: 


iNaturalist community. Observations of [species list] from [geographic area], [country name] observed on/between [date range]. Exported from https://www.inaturalist.org on [date]

Records not on GBIF

If you are writing up specific iNaturalist records that are not represented in GBIF, please include a link to the specific iNaturalist record(s). Such circumstances could be that you are describing a new species and therefore the records would not meet the criteria for inclusion in GBIF. 

Please use the following format for citing individual records: 


[Observer name]. [year of posting to iNaturalist]. iNaturalist observation: [url for observation]. Accessed on [date of access]

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