Terms of data usage and publishing

1. General

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (henceforth FinBIF) is a national service that compiles, archives and distributes biodiversity data. It is composed of several IT-based service entities, the most essential of which are the data warehouse (data storage) and Laji.fi portal (a service intended for sharing open data). In addition, services have been established for storing primary data related to the FinBIF data systems, the observation data system (available in 2017) and the collection data system, as well as the core database and annotation database (available in 2017) built for data management and validation.

Open datasets stored at FinBIF are available to registered clients free of charge in accordance with the principles stipulated by the CC 4.0 BY license. Datasets with conditional rights (henceforth conditional datasets) are available for use in accordance with conditions described in the metadata. Datasets with restricted rights (henceforth restricted datasets) are available to parties classified as authorities. Management of data shared by authorities through FinBIF is the responsibility of each individual authority sharing the data.

After logging in, clients can conduct clearly defined searches of the datasets and download data for personal use. FinBIF utilises several most common user identification systems. All clients may apply for a FinBIF username from the system administrator through the Laji.fi website. Open datasets are, however, free to browse and use on the Laji.fi website without registration.

Datasets are downloaded through an open application programming interface. By downloading data, clients pledge compliance with these terms. In connection with data downloads, clients will receive a list of related metadata. The metadata shows, among other things, whether any specific conditions for using the dataset apply and the type of attribution the data owner wishes to be observed. Since only registered clients are able to download data, a log entry consisting of downloaded content and the download time will be created. This information is available to FinBIF only for anonymous compilation of statistics and other similar research purposes in support of the development of the facility.

Terms of use vary between datasets. Most datasets are open and free to use in accordance with the principles of the CC 4.0 BY license. Some datasets fall under specific restrictions, which may be time-dependent, such as using research data for purposes other than the research conducted by the data owner. Some datasets may be available only by separate permission given by the data submitter. Permission is applied for from the data owner, whose identity can be found in the metadata. Restricted datasets are available only for use by authorities or comparable purposes. (Further information in section 6 / data usage / FinBIF Data policy).

Language used in the FinBIF user interface and metadata are unconnected. The user interface is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. Metadata is available in at least Finnish and English. Swedish-language metadata is published only for Swedish-language data.

The default language of the user interface for registered users logged into FinBIF is the language of service chosen at the time of registration. Users can change the language of the dataset list from the drop-down menu above the list. When several languages are available for metadata, the desired language can be selected from the metadata page.

2. Terms of dataset usage

2.1 The binding nature of the terms

  1. The data usage terms are unconditional. Access rights are personal. Each data user is required to accept these terms and pledge to comply with them.
  2. In connection with each data download, users automatically accept related terms.
  3. FinBIF has the right to close the account of a client who violates these terms and notify the data owner or manager of the violation.

2.2. Client register

  1. FinBIF client contact details are stored in the client register of the facility (see the privacy policy).
  2. Data owners may be given information on data users.

2.3 Purpose of data usage

  1. Open data is available for any desired purpose without an obligation to give notification of said purpose, as long as the conditions of the CC 4.0 BY license are met.
  2. Clients who wish to use conditional datasets must apply for permission from the data owner or manager. In these cases, an explanation for using the data is often required.
  3. Clients who wish to use restricted data must apply for permission from parties classified as authorities. In these cases, the purpose of using the data must be submitted.
  4. However, data usage will be monitored for all datasets with the help of voluntary declarations. This information will be utilised in mapping out development needs and compiling statistics.

2.4 Data security

  1. Adequate data security must be observed when storing, using and transferring conditional and restricted data.

2.5 Data protection and ethics

  1. Data usage must not put the privacy of persons or parties related to the data at risk.
  2. Compliance with dataset-specific restrictions must be unconditional.
  3. Data usage must comply with the ethics principles drafted by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (https://www.tenk.fi/en).

2.6 Copyright and source attribution

  1. Data and data creators must receive proper attribution in accordance with the principles of the CC 4.0 BY license in all publications and presentations where data is used.
  2. Copyright to photographs and other copyrighted material belongs to the original creators of the material.
  3. Ownership of open data is not transferred to users, but remains with the data submitter.

2.7 Errors, defects and liabilities related to data

  1. Original data owners and FinBIF are not responsible for any defects found in data.
  2. FinBIF must be notified of any data defects.
  3. Original data owners and FinBIF are not responsible for products, findings and interpretations that are the result of using the data for purposes other than the original.

2.8 Notification of publications and products

  1. Data owners or FinBIF need not be notified of publications and products based on open FinBIF data.
  2. However, good practice stipulates that data owners and FinBIF be notified by data users of publications and products that have benefited from data downloaded from the facility.

2.9 Client registration

  1. Parties in possession of a username in the following user identification systems can register as FinBIF clients with their own username: Virtu, Haka, Facebook, Google, Luomus and FinBIF.
  2. Other clients should apply for a FinBIF username from the system administrator through the Laji.fi website by registering as new users. After submitting the registration form in accordance with the technical requirements, clients will be sent a registration approval notification and a username to the email address given at the time of registration.

2.10 Right to verify and remove data

  1. Parties logging in to FinBIF must verify their personal details before submitting them to the FinFIB client register. Clients can verify and amend their contact details also at a later time by logging in to FinBIF using their login details.
  2. Consent for maintaining contact details in the client register given at the time of registration is valid indefinitely. Users can request their contact details be removed from the FinBIF client register.
  3. Details concerning requests for confidential data or data made less specific will be stored for no less than 10 years in accordance with the archiving plan of the University of Helsinki.

2.11 Handling and handing over personal data

  1. Personal data of clients is handled in accordance with the terms of use, the Personal Data Act and the data protection description based on the Act. By agreeing with the terms of use, clients give FinBIF consent to manage and use personal data included in the registration form.
  2. Details concerning downloads of conditional and restricted data requiring permission will be stored as separately agreed. Data download details consist of identifiers and contact details, content and time of download, as well as the purpose of data usage given either voluntarily or by requirement.
  3. When such information has been submitted voluntarily through a separate form, FinBIF has the right to disclose information concerning data users and purposes of data usage given by users to data owners.
  4. In the event clients use data in breach of the terms or the purpose which they have stated for using the data, FinBIF has the right to notify data owners of any misuse. In order to settle cases of misuse, FinBIF has the right to submit to data owners all identifying details related to data use (client’s first and last name, organisation, user name, email and postal address, telephone number, datasets downloaded, download times and the purpose of data use given by the client).

2.12 Client responsibility

  1. Login details granted to clients are personal. Clients are not allowed to transfer login details to anyone else. Furthermore, they are responsible for keeping the details out of reach of outsiders. Clients accept responsibility for all actions conducted using their login details. FinBIF has the right to close the accounts of clients who violate the terms.

2.13 Downloading datasets

  1. Clients are able to download datasets for personal use through the application programming interface in accordance with dataset-specific terms.
  • Open datasets: registration and a working email address are the only requirements.
  • Conditional datasets: in addition to registration, downloading requires permission from data owners.
  • Restricted datasets: in addition to registration, downloading requires permission from authorities and/or data owners. Permission requests will be processed by the FinBIF service system.
  1. Downloading data requires compliance with these terms and any applicable data-specific conditions. Special conditions will be made available to clients before downloading, in addition to which they are included in the metadata of downloaded data.

3 Data publication

3.1 Benefits of publishing

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility offers a functional solution for publishing biodiversity datasets through its Laji.fi portal. The service being national in nature, all published data will be compiled into a nationwide data warehouse, which will become an important resource for information to be used in several different ways – from decision-making by authorities to supporting hobbyist activities.

3.2 What type of data will be published?

Publishing through the data transfer interface is always based on a separate agreement with FinBIF. Observation data is published through the Vihko service operated by FinBIF with dedicated forms. FinBIF is developing the ability to receive biodiversity data in the form of tables, which will be available for further use in accordance with the terms of use. In addition to numerical values and text, data may include photographs and other multimedia content. However, FinBIF is committed to publishing numerical and text content only. Publication of photographs and other multimedia content is contingent on resources and the purposes of data use.

Material intended for publication must meet the following requirements:

  • Ownership and control of data must be sufficiently clear.
  • Metadata submitted together with data must be created in the FinBIF metadata format (service available at a later date).
  • Data must be in open use in accordance with previously agreed principles (CC 4.0 BY), with the exception of data with a waiting period restricting its use, data considered sensitive (restricted datasets) or data whose owner has set restrictions for its use (conditional datasets).
  • In the case of restricted and conditional datasets, two sets of data will be stored in the data warehouse: data made less specific and the original data.
  • Data made less specific (related to either time or location) will be distributed through the Laji.fi website.
  • The original data is available only to the owner and parties classified as authorities, e.g., in support of decision-making.
  • Core information of datasets (nomenclature, location data, etc.) is consistent with the core database of FinBIF. Harmonisation procedures will be agreed on separately.

3.3 Practical measures

The Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility receives biodiversity data in electronic form in the following manner:

  • The original (primary) database will be connected to the FinBIF data warehouse through the data transfer interface. Any amendments to data will be made in the original database, after which the data stored in the FinBIF warehouse is automatically updated. A separate agreement on this procedure will be made with FinBIF.
  • Data will be incorporated into the FinBIF data warehouse through the Kotka collection management system of the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus. This procedure requires a separate agreement between owners of natural history collections and the museum.
  • Data (which may consist of only a single observation or observation event) will be incorporated into the FinBIF data warehouse through the Vihko service.
  • In special circumstances, data may be transferred to FinBIF for distribution as a separate database or in table form. A separate agreement on this procedure will be made with FinBIF.

Data files and file formats

In this context, data files refer to data saved in electronic form. Data is typically an observation matrix consisting at least of names, times and location details of observations. In order to validate the data, information on the observer/owner is also required. File formats are dependent on the original file format of the data, but, in practice, any table format stored in a database can be incorporated into the FinBIF data warehouse. Data files must, however, comply with the Darwin Core standard either directly or in adapted form.

3.4 Translation principles

Metadata will be provided in both Finnish and English by data owners. The Laji.fi website run by FinBIF is available in Finnish, Swedish and English. FinBIF does not provide translations for any data. Language options for the textual content of data are the responsibility of data owners.

4. Glossary

Data owner

A data owner is a person or party who has the right to transfer the data in question to the FinBIF data warehouse. When feasible, owner identifiers will be attached to all data and metadata.

Terms of data usage

Terms of data usage refer to the general terms of use concerning data and, when applicable, dataset-specific terms. Dataset-specific terms will always be entered into machine-readable metadata attached to shared data.

Access rights

Access rights apply to conditional and restricted datasets and will be granted by either the data owner (in the first case) or an authority (in the latter case).

Data submitter

A data submitter is a person or organisation transferring their data to the FinBIF data warehouse.

Archiving plan

The working process, as well as the data security and protection procedures of the service, are described in the archiving plan of FinBIF. The archiving plan is a tool for planning and controlling the lifecycle management of datasets stored in the data warehouse and other document knowledge.

Open use

Data available for download from the FinBIF portal website to registered clients who have approved the terms of use is entirely unrestricted.

Datasets with conditional rights (conditional datasets)

Data whose owner has set restrictions and/or other conditions

Commitment to terms of use

A commitment to the terms is established when a client agrees with the terms of data use and pledges to observe them.

Purpose of use

As a rule, data requiring permission to use can be downloaded only after submitting a purpose of use, which may include research, investigations or development of commercial products.

Service terms

Service terms refer to the terms of the electronic services of FinBIF, which clients pledge to observe at the time of registration.

Datasets with restricted rights (restricted datasets)

Data where a waiting period is applicable or data that is classified as sensitive

Registered client

Personal details required for a client relationship will be stored in the FinBIF client register for all persons completing the registration. When using the identification system of another organisation during registration, the parent organisation of the client is responsible for the validity of the login details and identity verification of its members. In such cases, part of the personal details of a person registering as a FinBIF client originates from the parent organisation. The rest will be provided by the client. Other clients must personally enter all details required for registration. After the details have been stored, FinBIF will confirm the registration.