This page and policy has been updated on 22 April 2003, Pending the approval of SALVIAS participants

Intellectual Property Rights Policy

SALVIAS (Spatial Analysis of Local Vegetation Inventories Across Scales) is a collaborative project devoted to the study of plant abundance, diversity, and distribution from local to global scales. SALVIAS is based at the University of Arizona, in cooperation with the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science at Conservation International. One of the principal missions of SALVIAS is to develop a central database for the pooling and standardization of plant inventory data, and to provide tools for linking such information to external data on taxon-level attributes such as growth form, biomass, phytochemistry and distribution as well as geospatial attributes such as climate, soils and topography. This project was inspired by the legacy of the late Alwyn Gentry, whose data set of over 200 tenth ha forest plots from around the world forms the core of the original SALVIAS plant inventory database.

SALVIAS is founded on the belief that many key insights can be obtained only through collaborative research at truly global scales However, SALVIAS also recognizes that sharing data should not mean relinquishing rights of acknowledgement, collaboration, or co-authorship. Our intellectual rights policy, as outlined below, is intended to protect those rights. In brief, the General Participant Agreement stipulates that data providers have automatic rights to co-authorship on publications resulting from analysis of their data. In addition, data providers specify detailed Data Access Conditions for individual data sets submitted to SALVIAS. Anyone using data obtained through SALVIAS must adhere to both the General Participant Agreement, as well as the specific data access conditions set by the data provider.


As a participant of the SALVIAS network, I recognize that transfer of any data between project participants does not imply the transfer of rights to publication of the data. Therefore, I agree first to obtain the consent of the original data providers before submitting any work for publication. Furthermore, I understand that when I publish an analysis based wholly or in part on the data of another SALVIAS participant, the original data provider shall be co-author on that publication, unless he or she specifically relinquishes co-authorship. I agree to involve data-contributors in the analysis and writing of any research based on their data, whenever this is appropriate. I agree to abide by all conditions of data access set by individual data providers for data managed by SALVIAS and its participants, and understand that I may not redistribute any data obtained through SALVIAS, unless specifically permitted to do so by the original data provider. As a specific condition of use of the SALVIAS plots database, I agree to have my download activity recorded by SALVIAS; all downloads of plot data by me will be reported to the respective plot owners, along with my identity and contact information. I further agree to acknowledge SALVIAS as a source of any data or information obtained through the SALVIAS website. The SALVIAS website should be cited as:

"The SALVIAS Project (2002 and onward). Retrieved [date_retrieved], from"

Rights and obligations of SALVIAS participants

As a SALVIAS participant, you may request access to data managed by SALVIAS, subject to any restrictions set by individual data providers for individual data sets. As a participant, you must abide by the SALVIAS General Participant Agreement, in addition to any specific data access conditions set by individual data providers for data which you obtain from SALVIAS.

As a contributor of data to SALVIAS ("data provider"), you are entitled to set the level of access for any data that you provide, as specified by the data access categories outlined below. SALVIAS agrees to limit access to your data, and to transfer your data to requesting parties, only as permitted by the data access restrictions set by you. As a contributor of plot data, you are entitled to view download activity of your plots by other SALVIAS members, and contact information for those members. As a contributor of data to SALVIAS, you automatically become a participant in the SALVIAS network.


The salvias network recognizes two types of inventory data: plot descriptions and plot data. Plot descriptions include information about the survey or inventory and are limited to the following data fields:
Field Name Example
Plot Name e1750-3
Plot Admin Name Brad Boyle (
Project Name Boyle Transects
Project Admin Name Brad Boyle (
Country Ecuador
State/Province Carchi
Latitude 0.88
Longitude -78.16
Elevation 1750 m
Holdridge Life Zone Tropical Lower Montane Pluvial Forest
Mean Annual Temperature 17.9
Total Annual Precipitation 5000
Area 1000 m
Size MInimum 2.5 cm dbh
Method Notes Modified Gentry tenth ha. transect
Method Reference Boyle, B 1996
Vouchered? Yes
Associated Data

Note that the plot description does not include metadata from the plot such as species lists, diversity indices, soil data, or size disitributions. The plot data are the individual data points with all associated observations, taxonomic determinations, etc. The SALVIAS database administrators reserve the right to standardize and normalize the data before uploading to the inventory database. We will archive original datasets as recieved (i.e., without any modification whatsoever). The archived originals may be retrieved from SALVIAS in addition to the standardized data, with the permission of the plot or project administrator. When you provide inventory data to the SALVIAS network, it is your resposibility to set access levels for your data. Thereare three levels of access which you may choose:

User Can Access
Level Description Description Data
1 Completely Restricted False False
2 Plot Description Only True False
3 Full Access True True

There are four hierarchical levels of users and adminstrators within the SALVIAS database:

Grants Permission to...
Level User Plot Admin Project Admin Database Admin
User False False False False
Plot Admin True False False False
Project Admin True True False False
Database Admin False True True True

Users cannot alter permissions for any plot data and are limited to seeing only the plot decsriptions and plot data for which they have been granted permission. Plot Administrators can alter user permission either globally (e.g., "Set access=2 for all registered SALVIAS participants") or specifically (e.g., "Set access=1 for all users other than Bob, Carol, Ted, and Alice, who have access=3"). The principal level of administration is the plot. Here a project is simply a group of plots, which allows the Project Administrator to set the permission for multiple plots simultaneously. In practice the Database Administrators will not alter plot permissions without the approval of Plot or Project Administrators.


For any data which you provide to the SALVIAS network, we ask that you specify the Plot Administrator or Project Administrator. The Plot and Project Administrator must be a registered SALVIAS participant to access plot controls. All plots submitted to the SALVIAS network are completely restricted (i.e., the Access Code is set at "1") unless the Plot Administrator grants permissions or directs the Database Administrators to grant permission. In the open spirit of collaboration, SALVIAS recommends that the 'default' for each plot should be "3" (i.e., complete access to data by SALVIAS participants). Note that even at this high level of access, you still maintain full intellectual property rights: in accordance with the General Participant Agreement, whoever does the analysis is obliged to contact you and you will have more opportunities for co-authorships. Please note that the SALVIAS Participant database will track which participants download a specific plot's data. This data will be made available to Project and Plot Administrators on their "MYSalvias" page. The SALVIAS Participant database will track which plots have been downloaded by a specific user. This information will available to that user on their "MYSalvias" page.



  1. Plot description- Short, descriptive information about the location, date, plot type, plot administrator etc. Note that this does not include true metadata such as species richness, abundance, etc.

  2. Plot data- The raw data from the plot collections.


  1. User SALVIAS "Users" are registered SALVIAS participants who have some level of access to the inventory database. The access of individual users to plot data is controlled by the appropriate Plot or Project Administrators.

  2. Plot Administrator Inventory data in the SALVIAS network is controlled at the level of individual plots. Individual Plot Administrators can set global or specicific controls on their plot data (see Access Levels below). The user interface for plot administration ("MYSalvias") allows a Plot Administrator to grant blanket permission to all Users or to choose which users have access to data.

  3. Project Administrator A Project Administrator can set permissions for Plot Administration for sets of plots (i.e., "A Project"). Project Administrators can set global or specific controls for multiple plots within their project

  4. Database Administrator The Database Administrators have read/write permission at all levels of the database. Unless specific permission is given by the appropriate Project or Plot Administrator, the Data Administrators access is limited to normal database standardization and maintenance. The Database Administrators agree to not analyze, redistribute, or otherwise infringe on the proprietary rights of data providers without express permission of Plot or Project Administrators. As of January 1, 2003, the Database Administrators for the SALVIAS network are Brad Boyle and Michael D. Weiser.


  1. Completely Restricted User does not have permission to see plot description. If a plot is coded "1" for a specific user, the plot description will not appear in the "Plots Available" section of that users "MYSalvias" page.

  2. Plot Description User has permission to see plot description (plot name, location, type, etc) but does not have permission to see the plot data. If a plot is coded "2" for a specific user, the plot description will appear along with contact information for the appropriate Plot Administrator in that Users "MYSalvias" page.

  3. Data access User has permission to see plot description and download plot data (within the terms of this General Participant Agreement). If a plot is coded "3" for a specific user, the plot description will appear along with contact information for the appropriate Plot Administrator in that Users "MYSalvias" page.
For more information on this data use agreement, please contact Brad Boyle at

© The SALVIAS Project 2004