Data accessed through the ALA is free for all—but not free of obligations. Under the ALA's Terms of Use, users agree to acknowledge, reference or attribute downloaded information referred to in any published material as outlined below or detailed in the metadata accompanying data downloads.

Please see the details below to work out the best citation solution for you. 

Acknowledging the ALA as a whole
Citing specific information from the ALA

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 the ALA is used (our impact) is an important part of our work. It helps to safeguard ongoing investment and commitment from the Australian Government to maintain and improve the ALA’s digital biodiversity infrastructure, and provide open, usable, shareable data to users across research, government, community and schools.

Different ways to cite the ALA

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 the ALA you use (e.g. a dataset, downloaded data, one of our tools such as the Spatial Portal or BioCollect), and
  • how you use the information (e.g. in a publication, on a website, developing a new app)

Acknowledging the ALA as a whole

General acknowledgement

Users of the ALA are requested to acknowledge the Atlas of Living Australia in any publications resulting from use of ALA facilities, as follows:

We acknowledge the use of the Atlas of Living Australia, (

To acknowledge the ALA as a partner or collaborator

The Atlas of Living Australia is made possible by contributions from its partners. It is supported by the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and is hosted by CSIRO.

Citing specific information from the ALA

Citing occurrence record data downloaded from the ALA

The ALA automatically creates a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for every occurrence record data download. Please ensure the DOI is cited in any publications utilising data encapsulated in 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 ALA support if you require any assistance.

Atlas of Living Australia occurrence download at Accessed 28 January 2020.

Citing occurrence record data accessed using ALA web services

ALA web services

Accessing occurrence data from ALA in R, Python and other programming languages via ALA APIs is fast and easy. It is, however, important to keep in mind that the citation requirements of the ALA Terms of Use still apply. Tools returning results directly from the ALA search API will not assign DOIs for data downloaded.

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 ALA web services, it is recommended you use the offline download method and pass mintDOI=true as a parameter, along with a valid email address. See here for more information.


If you use our R package galah, please cite it. To generate a citation for the version of the package you are using, use: 

citation(package = "galah")

If you’re using occurrence data downloaded through galah in a publication, please generate a DOI and cite it. To request a DOI for a download of occurrence record, set mint_doi = TRUE in a call to atlas_occurrences(). To generate a citation for the downloaded occurrence records, pass the data.frame generated to atlas_citation().

# Download occurrence records with a DOI 
occ <- atlas_occurrences(..., mint_doi = TRUE)

# See DOI
attr(occ, "doi")

# Generate citation

Visit the {galah} page for more information.


If you use ALA4R, please cite the package. To generate a citation for the version of the package you are using, use:

citation(package = "ALA4R")

Citing ALA web-pages

Those wishing to cite ALA's website in general can use the following example:

Atlas of Living Australia website at Accessed 28 January 2020.

Please Note: This approach is not an accepted alternative for citing data downloads.

Users can cite non-data pages on the ALA website as, for example:

Atlas of Living Australia website at Accessed 28 January 2020.

You can find information about citing data from AVH here.

Citing a Species page (including occurrence distribution maps)

Species page should be cited in the following way:

Atlas of Living Australia website. Species page: Accessed 28 January 2020.

Should a species occurrence distribution map taken from an ALA 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 ALA.

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 utilised an existing list, please cite it in the following way:

Atlas of Living Australia website. List: Accessed 28 January 2020.

Citing information retrieved via the ALA Spatial Portal

ALA'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:

Citation details/considerations
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


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:


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, 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:

Atlas of Living Australia - Spatial Portal. AOO and EOO Tool - Pseudophryne corroboree (Australia) at Accessed 28 January 2020.

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.