Andy Farke sets a precedent

This is so cool; I hope it catches on:

Andy Farke has just made his notes on the YPM Torosaurus specimens available for free to all! Here’s the Dinosaur Mailing List message announcing it:

Andrew Farke
Relevant to the ongoing discussion, I have posted my 30 pages of notes
on the YPM Torosaurus specimens via This includes
sketches, measurements, and other observations. My hope is that the
data will be useful for other folks out there who may not have access
to the original specimens. I also hope that other researchers, across
paleontology, will consider digitizing and making available their own
notes (within certain bounds – I would never suggest someone should be
mandated to post their own unpublished data from an ongoing project!).

Notes and Observations on Specimens of Torosaurus at the Yale Peabody
Museum of Natural History. Andrew Farke. Figshare.
Retrieved 15:40, March 02, 2012

To get directly to the data set, paste” into your


Now I am not a big note taker, I usually take photos and have a little text file… that could be edited easily into a similar thing. Way to go!

Very many thanks, Andy – I just wish you’d not done this for a stinkin’ ceratopsian, but for a proper sauropodomorph! 😉


EDIT: Andy’s own post at his blog Open Source Paleontologist

About Heinrich Mallison

I'm a dinosaur biomech guy
This entry was posted in Announcements, Ceratopsia, Dinosauria, Ornithischa. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Andy Farke sets a precedent

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    Along similar lines, my photographs of Xenoposeidon and Brontomerus are freely available at and

    I endorse Andy’s suggestion that we should work towards making this a normal part of doing descriptive work. (Except maybe when publishing in PLoS ONE, where you may as well just throw all the photos right into the paper itself, and call them figures.)

  2. SanSaurio says:

    I think it is a great idea.
    When I finish my thesis, I try to publish online my notes and pics.
    But I have a question. What would happend with the photos that you take in the museums?. In some of them I have to sign in a sheet for the copyrigth…

    • That’s a tricky question, and depends a lot on what museum we are talking about. Some are extremely strict, some are very willing to let you publish almost anything. As a general rule, museum exhibits in the US are considered public, so you hold the copyright to the photos you take there. Germany is a bit different, and many museum have “house rules” that forbid commercial use explicitly – including making material available under licenses that allow commercial use (wikipedia comes to mind).

      The best thing is to ALWAYS ask the curator in question, or the public relations people at the museum. Especially when collections stuff is concerned. In Andy’s case, what he is making available is his work, so he is all safe.

      • Andy Farke says:

        Much as I’d like to post them, I am specifically holding off on distributing photos right now, for the reasons discussed above. I strongly disagree with most museums’ policies on photograph distribution (especially for public museums and publicly-owned specimens), and suspect there probably is little legal weight behind it, but for now I’m abiding by it. The policies vary so much between institutions, too, that I haven’t had time to see what’s allowed and what isn’t!

        • Well, you have to find a reason to have another paper in a journal that allows unlimited figures – then say “there are many specimens in the collection (Figures 1-156)..” or so 😉

  3. Pingback: Andy ups the ante | dinosaurpalaeo

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