Open Access File of the Day on Wikimedia Commons: Actenoides_concretus.png from PLoS Biology

Wikimedia Commons has been hosting a Picture of the Year contest since 2006, in which users can vote for their favourites amongst those files that acquired Featured Image status during that year. This is complemented by the Picture of the day and Media of the day initiatives, which highlight freely licensed images and media on a daily basis.

As noted in the inaugural post on this blog, files from Open Access (Wikipedia article) resources have kept a very low profile in all these processes, despite a significant number of the Picture of the Year finalists actually having clear links to research. For instance, the 2010 winner image depicts the European Southern Observatory‘s Paranal Observatory (Wikipedia article) while gathering data.

To highlight the wealth of research-related materials already on Wikimedia Commons and to stimulate further additions to this pool, I am hereby launching the prototype of an Open Access File of the Day on Wikimedia Commons initiative, in which I will post a file every day in December 2011 that is:

  1. clearly linked to scientific or scholarly research
  2. in the Public Domain or licensed under CC0CC BY or CC BY-SA
  3. used on at least two wiki pages outside user namespace, either on Wikimedia projects or on sites using InstantCommons, from the day of nomination until the day of posting.

These criteria will evolve over the course of the month, and you can edit them. The idea is to launch Open Access File of the Day on Wikimedia Commons more formally on the occasion of Public Domain Day 2012, i.e. January 1.

I do not plan to make a distinction between file types – images, audio, video and other media are thus on equal footing – but am considering to follow some classical distinctions of scholarly materials by handling Files from Open Access articles or Open Access repositories, including preprints and Files from databases or other research-related sources, including open notebooks separately. Please nominate files via Commons:Open Access File of the Day/Nominations.

To get things going, I have chosen Actenoides_concretus.png as the Open Access File of December 1, 2011. It depicts the Rufous-collared kingfisher as an example of a species endangered by deforestation.

Rufous-collared Kingfisher (Actenoides concretus). Photo by Jakob Wijkema, via

The file, originally published in a 2004 synopsis in PLoS Biology (presumably by Liza Gross), is licensed CC BY and currently in use at the following locations:

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