Policy on the Release, Use and Publication of Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas (VBBA) Data by Outside Users

It is the Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas (VBBA) policy to encourage the publication of important research findings based on VBBA data, and to encourage the use of VBBA data by land management authorities, planners, naturalists and others. It is also the VBBA policy that appropriate credit be given to VBBA and cooperating organizations for their contributions to the publication of such findings based on VBBA data.

The following organizations/agencies are the official VBBA cooperators with the Vermont Center for Ecostudies:
Vermont Institute of Natural Science
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
National Biological Information Infrastructure
Northwoods Stewardship Center
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
North Branch Nature Center
Audubon Vermont

It is important to note that the data in the database are provisional and have not necessarily been reviewed or approved.For information concerning the accuracy and appropriate uses of these data, contact the VBBA office.

Accessing VBBA Data
VBBA data alone should not form the main basis of a scientific publication, unless a formal data request is completed, as described below. Interpretation of this is at the discretion of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE). In general, use of selected VBBA data records in combination with other data, e.g., for a publication on birds of a particular region, would not require explicit permission, but a paper on the distribution of a particular species, based solely on VBBA data, would require a formal data request.
VBBA data can be accessed in two ways:

1. Data summaries from the VBBA web site

The VBBA web site facilitates summarizing data. Summaries or maps generated from the web site may be printed or otherwise used for personal use, or for inclusion in reports or articles, whether published or not, without further restriction or permission, provided that:

– due caution is taken regarding the limitations of the data;
– appropriate credit is given to VBBA (see below);
– the raw data are not directly distributed to third parties (who should get them from the web site);
– atlas data alone do not form the main basis of a scientific publication (see above).

2. Other data
Other forms of VBBA data not available from the web site can be requested as follows:

Summaries, analyses or large volumes of VBBA data
Requests for summaries, analyses or large volumes of VBBA data should be sent to the VCE office using the VBBA data request and release form and publication agreement, below. Names of people who collected atlas data will not normally be provided.

Species at Risk
Atlas data concerning site locations of species at risk (i.e. those federally and state listed species), and those designated rare by the atlas project, are provided to the Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. Requests for data on species at risk should be made to them. More general summaries of the occurrence of species at risk are available from the web site.

Researchers/authors using atlas data agree to use the following acknowledgement:
“We thank the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and the Natural Heritage Information Program, VFWD for supplying data, and to the hundreds of volunteer participants who gathered data for the project.”
Review of manuscripts (or parts thereof) by VCE staff before submission to scientific journals is requested as a courtesy.

Persons planning a scientific publication using atlas data not obtained through the atlas web site agree to discuss the project and authorship with VBBA before they begin work on the manuscript. This will help avoid misunderstandings about commitments and authorship and about any restrictions that may be imposed. The concern is that all involved in the original project and in the preparation of the manuscript for publication be treated fairly.

If a request for data includes proposed research requiring significant support from VBBA, then agreement on the role of involved staff, joint authorship, and order of authors must be reached before the data are released.

In cases of conflict over authorship or order of authorship at any time, each party may present written arguments (maximum of 2 typed pages) to VBBA.  Determination of authors and sequence of authors will be evaluated on contributions in each of the five basic areas of the research investigation: conception, design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation, and the parties agree that their decision is final.

Fee for Data
A fee of $50/hour ($200 minimum) will normally be charged to extract and assemble data, but consideration can be given to waiving this fee for institutional clients and not-for-profit researchers/authors. All decisions concerning fees rest with VCE. Fees (if any) will be clearly stated on the Data Request and Release Form and Publication Agreement.

Page Charges and Reprints
Page charges and reprint costs are the responsibility of the author(s). We request that 5 copies of reprints be submitted to VCE.

VBBA retains the copyright on all data provided to researchers/authors, unless the copyright has been legally transferred to a client.

Revocation of Privileges
Any researcher/author not abiding by this policy or the terms of the Data Request and Release Form and Publication Agreement may forfeit any future access to Atlas data.

Data Request and Release Form and Publication Agreement
Click here to download the Data Request and Release Form and Publication Agreement.

Download the Data Request and Release Form and Publication Agreement.

Requests for data should be sent to:
Vermont Breeding Bird Atlas
Vermont Center for Ecostudies
PO Box 420
Norwich, VT 05055
Phone: 802-649-1341 X 5
E-mail: rrenfrewATvtecostudies.org