Consulting fees

Diana G. Horton dhorton at VAXA.WEEG.UIOWA.EDU
Sat Nov 30 12:43:43 CST 1996


Joseph Laferriere's comments are well taken.  The cost of identifications
*should* be written into the grant; the point is that very often, as in this
instance, they are not.  Many people outside of the taxonomic community
regard us as little more than technicians, and have no understanding of the
importance of having the organism on which they are working correctly
identified.

2)  I regard a floristic study as something quite different than the type
of study I referred to.  I would never consider charging a herbarium or
another taxonomist for an identification, nor would I expect an authorship
were I to identify one of many specimens that would be reported in a floristic
paper.  In the type of study I referred to, the whole study is focused on a
single organism (or very few); the identification of that organism is a
critical aspect of the study that requires the input of a researcher with
appropriate expertise.  In such a case, I think it could be argued that
providing the identification warrants an authorship; the research cannot be
carried out without that identification.

I am sensitive about this subject of the value of taxonomic work because I
recently attended a meeting where I heard an excellent presentation that was
based, in part, on data that I had provided in the form of identifications
and interpretations of the ecological significance of the species identified.
I heard my identifications cited, and my comments quoted verbatim; my name
was never mentioned.  I did these identifications, which involved a
significant number of specimens, without charge.  When I approached the
presenter after his talk and asked some pointed questions, he thanked me
"for all the work I had done" for them.  I realized that he viewed me as
nothing more than a technician.

-- diana Horton

Herbarium 312 CB
Biological Sciences
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA  52242




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