An easy way to get your photos into Wikimedia

We need photos of all the living things! Even if you make your living on photographs it will not kill you to put one image per species out there for people to use when they volunteer their time to write for Wikipedia!

The building blocks of all biology are the living species that make up our planet. They have changed the oxygen in the air, inspired much great poetry, and share a common ancestry with us. Perhaps the most basic thing we biologists can write for Wikipedia is a description of a species and what is known about it.

My students this year are writing about bees, mostly social bees. They find articles and digest them for the Wikipedia audience. Even really important bees did not have Wikipedia pages, like Plebaia remota. But now they will.


Photo taken by Joan Strassmann CC BY SA

The problem is getting images of these bees. There are plenty out there, but they are not available to us because they are not properly copyrighted. For Wikipedia they need to be CC BY SA which allows even for-profit use provided the image is properly attributed and retains the same license. I suppose a serious for-profit place would not use these images since they would have to still be freely taken for other use.

PLEASE if you have an image, particularly of a social bee, get it on Wikimedia. It is not hard to upload images yourself but if you just don’t have time, you can just email them to the loyal volunteers of Wikipedia and they will do it. Let them know the images are yours and that you are fine with a CC BY SA 4.0 license. Or you can put them entirely in the public domain.

Alternatively, you can ask the authors to send an email with the
photos attached directly to Here is
an email template. Or just use what I used from that page:


I hereby affirm that I am the creator of the attached photos (or you could provide a URL, say to FLICKR or the like). 

I agree to publish the above-mentioned content under the free license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International. (THIS IS THE STANDARD CHOICE; YOU MAY CHOOSE ANOTHER ACCEPTABLE FREE LICENSE, IF YOU WISH TO)

I acknowledge that by doing so I grant anyone the right to use the work in a commercial product or otherwise, and to modify it according to their needs, provided that they abide by the terms of the license and any other applicable laws.

I am aware that this agreement is not limited to Wikipedia or related sites.

I am aware that I always retain copyright of my work, and retain the right to be attributed in accordance with the license chosen. Modifications others make to the work will not be claimed to have been made by me.

I acknowledge that I cannot withdraw this agreement, and that the content may or may not be kept permanently on a Wikimedia project.

[Sender’s name]
[Sender’s authority (If applicable. E.g. “Copyright holder”, “Director”, “Appointed representative of”, etc.)]


Wonder which end is which of this monarch caterpillar? Look for the frass! CC BY SA photo taken by Joan Strassmann

Please note, if you send the images to me, I cannot upload them for you. I tried that last year and got in trouble. These are the only routes, though I suppose if you put on FLICKR etc. that they were share and share alike, CC BY SA 4.0, that would make them usable for my students.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Photographs, Wikipedia, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to An easy way to get your photos into Wikimedia

  1. Pingback: Open Science –

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.