Data protection and the BLS database

To meet the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, the BLS Data Policy was revised in 2018 to make it clearer and to introduce the requirement that those submitting records to the database opt in to us holding any personal data they contain, and to us using and sharing the records as we see fit. In effect nothing has changed, but data providers, whether individuals or organisations, are now required to agree to these Terms and Conditions. To do this please fill in this permission form and email it to

Unless you do this we cannot accept your records into the database. You only need to do this once, and we keep a register of those who have agreed.

In accordance with good practice we are also seeking agreement from those who submitted records before that date, but this will not always be practical and historic records and those already in the database will continue to be used and shared unless for some reason they are removed from the database. These records were submitted in accordance with the previous Data Policy, which assumed implied consent to us holding personal data and to using and sharing records, and that still applies.

Any queries should be directed to Janet Simkin on


BLS Data Policy

The British Lichen Society maintains a database of records of lichens and lichenicolous fungi to which members and others are encouraged to submit their data. Records should include the taxon name, location, date and recorder, and may include additional information on habitat, identification and herbarium specimens. Any individual or organisation submitting records after 25th May 2018 is required to agree to these Terms and Conditions:

a)      Record ownership

The record content and any supporting information is yours, or you have the permission of the record owner to submit it to the BLS. This is not always possible for collations of historic records, but for these you will have done whatever is reasonable and practical to ensure that you have permission.

b)     Validation and verification

To ensure the highest standards of data quality we may occasionally have to redetermine records or correct errors in such details as the date or location.

c)      Personal data

We have your permission to hold recorder and determiner names as part of the record, together with details of the location and date, and to share these with others as part of the record. Names are needed to provide provenance and traceability. Spatial data will be shared at the supplied resolution and this may lead to personal information such as your location on a particular date being supplied, so if this is a problem please supply the record at lower resolution.

d)     Use and sharing of data

We have your permission to use the records and to share them with others without restriction for purposes of research, education, conservation, planning, and any other use the society deems appropriate. Data users who may request access to your records include government organisations, national agencies, conservation organisations, local authorities, ecological consultancies, academic researchers, experts, and members of the public.

e)     National and international records databases

The BLS has your permission to make the records publicly available at full resolution on the NBN Atlas and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and other databases may access them from there.

f)       Acknowledgement

You understand that your name cannot always be credited with uses of the data, but your authorship will be acknowledged when practical and appropriate.

g)      Contact details

Those managing the BLS database may keep contact details for recorders and those submitting records to enable them to follow up on queries and provide feedback. Occasionally these will also be used to circulate information relevant to lichen recorders.

h)     Right to personal information

You have the right to ask us at any time for details of all the personal information we hold on you, including a full list of the records on which you are named as recorder or determiner. You also have the right to ask us to remove your records from the BLS database, or to exclude them from subsequent updates of the NBN Atlas and GBIF. Please contact to do either of these.


Version 2, issued 25 May 2018