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There are many components of the Atlas of Living Australia that can be cited, for a detailed list see our 'Different ways to cite the ALA' table below.

Here are a couple of the ways that you can cite the ALA more simply and generally: 

Citing the ALA website or data

If you would like to cite the ALA as an organisation, its history and information about the work we do, we recommend the below article, cited as: 

Belbin L, Wallis E, Hobern D, Zerger A (2021) The Atlas of Living Australia: History, current state and future directions. Biodiversity Data Journal 9: e65023. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.9.e65023. 

To cite the ALA website as a whole: 

Atlas of Living Australia website at http://www.ala.org.au. Accessed 8 June 2022. 

For data downloaded from the ALA a DOI is created, an example of how to cite a DOI is: 

Atlas of Living Australia occurrence download at https://doi.org/10.26197/5d7f2348165a0. Accessed 8 June 2022. 

Using Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) 

If you download data directly from the ALA a DOI will be created, details on your data download and the associated DOI can be found in the email for the download. 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’. 

Citing from programming languages

Accessing occurrence data from the ALA in R, Python, and other programming languages via ALA APIs is fast and easy. Tools returning results directly from the ALA search API will not assign DOIs for the downloaded 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. An example of how to do this in galah is:  

# Download occurrence records with a DOI  
occ <- atlas_occurrences(..., mint_doi = TRUE) 
# See DOI 
attr(occ, "doi") 
# Generate citation 

Visit our {galah} support page for more information. 

Different ways to cite the ALA 

Type of citation 


General acknowledgement 

For publications resulting from the use of ALA facilities 

We acknowledge the use of the Atlas of Living Australia, (https://ror.org/018n2ja79). 

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. 

Occurrence record data 

This requires a DOI, see above information about DOI’s 

Atlas of Living Australia occurrence download at https://doi.org/10.26197/5d7f2348165a0. Accessed 8 June 2022. 


To generate a citation for the version of the package you are using, use:  

citation(package = "galah") 

ALA website in general  

This is not an alternative for citing data downloads. 

Atlas of Living Australia website athttp://www.ala.org.au. Accessed 8 June 2022. 

Species pages  

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. 

Atlas of Living Australia website. Species  


Most of the citation details for AusTraits are already provided (see below). In addition, the ALA URL and access date also need to be included.

Falster, Gallagher et al (2021) AusTraits, a curated plant trait database for the Australian flora. Scientific Data 8: 254, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-01006-6. <ALA URL>. <Access date>.

Falster, Gallagher et al (2021) AusTraits, a curated plant trait database for the Australian flora. Scientific Data 8: 254, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-01006-6https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://id.biodiversity.org.au/node/apni/2911230#ausTraits. Accessed 1 March 2023.

Species occurrence distribution map 

If an occurrence distribution map taken from an ALA Species page is being reproduced ensure that all attributions at the bottom of the image are retained. 

Leaflet, OpenStreetMap and Carto DB in addition to the ALA.


Atlas of Living Australia website. List:https://lists.ala.org.au/speciesListItem/list/dr781. Accessed 8 June 2022. 

Spatial Portal 

Due to its versatility, it is up to the user to identify elements (such as occurrence records, map data, spatial layers, screenshots of maps or scatterplots etc.) that might require acknowledgment.  

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. 

Species occurrence records (Spatial Portal) 

See ‘Citing occurrence record data’ above 

Maps (Spatial Portal) 

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. 

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:  

Layers (Spatial Portal) 

Spatial layers available in the Spatial Portal include environmental, contextual, and biodiversity surfaces as well as named areas in the Spatial Portal's gazetteer. Information can be found in the metadata from 

https://spatial.ala.org.au/layers, or in the information icon  pop-up next to the mapped layer name in the Spatial Portal. 

Required citation for the 'CAPAD 2016' Terrestrial layer' is "‘Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database (CAPAD) 2016, Commonwealth of Australia 2017". 

Tools (Spatial Portal) 

Usage of particular Spatial Portal tools (e.g., AOO and EOO Tool, Scatterplot, Tabulate) 

Atlas of Living Australia - Spatial Portal. AOO and EOO Tool - Pseudophryne corroboree (Australia) at https://spatial.ala.org.au/. Accessed 8 June 2022. 

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Using images found on the ALA 

Most of the images of plants and animals on our site are provided under either Creative Commons license or copyright. Where they have a Creative Commons license, you can use those images under the terms of the creative commons license. For the images with copyright, you will need to contact the copyright holder yourself and ask for permission.  

Permissions for use can be confusing, the licensing information will tell you the photographer's preference. To find the licensing information: 

When looking at images in the gallery, click on the image to open more information. The source and the rights information may be there. 

species image of a platypus, showing licensing information in the bottom right of the screen. text reads 'Rights holder:' and then the user's name

This may be enough detail to show you how to acknowledge the original source of the image when you use it. If not, you can click on  View details of this record, then on the next page, click View image details (shown below).

screenshot of the species occurrence record page showing the link to 'view image details' underneath the image thumbnail

From there, the image details page will open, showing a table of information to the right of the image. The 'Licence' field near the bottom of the table should display the type of license. In this example shown below, it is CC-BY-NC, as indicated by the logo. This means that non-commercial use is allowed, as long as the creator is acknowledged. This table also shows the creator's name, in one of the top fields. 

screenshot of the image details page, showing the image large on the left, and a table of information about the image on the right. This table includes fields such as creator, date created, date uploaded, and license

 As this is a creative commons license, the link will display the conditions of the license, below it shows the image can be used for non-commercial use, with appropriate credit to the image creator.  

screenshot of text from the Creative Commons website, explaining the conditions of this particular license, such as attribution and non-commercial use 


Can I use the information I find on the ALA website? 

The biodiversity information available on the ALA is open for public use, so you can download data and use it for your own research. We do encourage users to cite the information properly, see the above information on how to cite the ALA to work out what might be best for you.  

Can I use a picture I found on the ALA website? 

It is possible to use images on the ALA, but please check the licensing information for each image before you use it and ensure that you credit the image appropriately. For information on how to use images on the ALA please see above.

I can’t find any licensing information on a photo I want to use. 

If there is no link to a creative commons license page or it’s not obvious that the photo is under a creative commons license, you can: 

  • In the Dataset table of the record that has the photo you’d like to use, click on the data resource link (in the table example above, this would be iNaturalist Australia) In some cases there will be a ‘Rights’ section, which may say creative commons underneath.  

  • If this is empty or does not exist you might want to try using a different photo.

  • If you really want to use the photo you have found, try contacting the owner to clarify permission or request additional rights, such as commercial if needed. 

I think the photo I want to use is copyrighted. 

If there is a watermark, or the information on the chosen image indicates it is copyrighted, it may be best to choose another image. However, if you would really like to use the image you have found, try contacting the owner to clarify permission or request additional rights such as commercial if needed.