How to Contribute Content to EOL

The Encyclopedia of Life is growing thanks to contributions of content from individuals and organizations throughout the world.  If you're an enthusiastic amateur, professional scientist, scholarly organization or simply someone who wants to help EOL grow, there are many ways for you to get involved today.

Open Access

To the greatest extent possible, the Encyclopedia of Life promotes an open‐source, open‐access approach. Therefore, it requires that content providers serving information through EOL agree to share only content in the public domain or that is licensed under Creative Commons. Please see our Licensing Policy for more information.

Contribute Directly to EOL

Contribute Images, Videos and Sounds to EOL through a third-party website

Contributing Directly to EOL

If you are an individual and you'd like to provide information directly to EOL, please register to become a member.  Becoming a member is free and takes only a few minutes. If you maintain a website or database project and have a large amount of information, including photos, video and sounds, that you would like to share with EOL, please consider becoming an EOL Content Partner.


The easiest and fastest way to contribute to EOL is to leave a comment on the site. You can ask questions, make requests, participate in discussions, and share your expertise and interests with the EOL community anywhere you see a comment box. And when you leave a comment, EOL adds the content you commented on to your personal Watch List, which you can access from your profile. Here you can follow activity such as conversations on that content.


Throughout EOL you can rate different pictures, articles and other content with from one to five stars, with five stars being the very best. Your ratings help the entire EOL community to focus on the very best content we have to offer.

Adding Text

Anyone can contribute text articles to EOL, subject to review and approval by a member of the EOL Curator community. To add an article directly to EOL, select the Detail tab on any EOL taxon page and look for the button at the top of the page marked “add an article to this page”. When you click on this button you will be given the opportunity to write an article on one of a large number of topics. If you are contributing content that is derived from another source, please take care to read EOL’s Licensing Policy for Content Providers and be mindful of whether or not your use of that content is permissible. Also, always make sure to cite your sources, and if you copy something verbatim make sure to give credit to the author(s).

Adding Data

Whether you are a practicing scientist generating new measurements, or you have done library research and collected some facts from the literature, you are welcome to post a trait dataset on EOL. Several things to bear in mind:

  • we can only post trait data that can be assigned to a particular organism. You must know the taxon name for which each trait was reported. 
  • we need as much context as you can give us about the data, in order for it to be useful to our visitors. Minimally, you must describe the source of the data (i.e., a literature reference or published dataset, a field study with locations and dates, etc.) Any additional detail you can provide (sample size, demographics of the measured subjects, measurement method) is helpful.
  • you must be able to describe to us exactly what was measured, so that we can assign precise trait terms to your data. The trait may already be indexed in our glossary; if not, we can index a new term to fit your data.

If you have a suitable dataset which you would like to share, please contact us.

Create a Collection

Another great way to contribute to EOL is to create and annotate an EOL Collection or become part of an EOL Community. Click on the Community tab on any EOL taxon page to discover Collections and Communities associated with that taxon and start exploring!

Become a Curator

And if you’re an enthusiastic amateur, professional scientist, or other expert, please consider becoming an EOL Curator and contribute your expertise to make EOL as high quality a resource as possible.  Learn more about how to apply to be an EOL Curator today.

Contributing Images, Video and Sound to EOL 

If you are contributing information to one of EOL's many Content Partners, you are already an EOL contributor. For many individuals, this is the fastest and easiest way to ensure your articles, photos and other content become part of EOL.  Please review the list of EOL Content Partners.


You can contribute images to EOL through many platforms, including iNaturalist and Flickr:


You can contribute images to EOL through the popular nature observation site iNaturalist.  If you upload your images as iNaturalist observations, they will be exported to EOL if the following conditions are met:

  • Your observations is confirmed at the Research Grade level by the iNaturalist community.
  • Your image is released under a Creative Commons license that is compatible with the EOL licensing policy.

Because iNaturalist observations have undergone community review, photos from iNaturalist are considered TRUSTED information on EOL.


EOL also maintains a very active group on the popular photo sharing site Flickr.   Flickr images are harvested by EOL if the following conditions are met:

Flickr images are considered UNREVIEWED information on EOL until they are promoted to TRUSTED status by an EOL curator.


You can contribute videos to EOL through Vimeo and YouTube

View a tutorial with step-by-step instructions for sharing videos on EOL

EOL maintains a group on Vimeo, which is especially helpful for contributors with video longer than 30 seconds. Instructions for using Vimeo to add videos to EOL are in the group forum.

There is also an EOL channel on YouTube. If you post videos to YouTube, you can share them with us simply by tagging and licensing them appropriately.

YouTube and Vimeo videos are considered UNREVIEWED information on EOL until they are promoted to TRUSTED status by an EOL curator.


Do you enjoy recording bird or insect songs or other wildlife audio? We have a group on SoundCloud where you can share digital audio recordings with us.