licensing procedures

Robin Leech robinl at NAIT.AB.CA
Sun Oct 27 17:19:52 CST 1996

In Albera, we have the "Alberta Society of Professional Biologists".
This is a registered society, along with the engineers, geologists,
geophysicists, lawyers, foresters and aggies.  Part of our code (I am a
member of the ASPB!) of ethics states just exactly the concern below -
about doing things outside our areas of expertise.  As far as I know, we do
not go outside our areas of expertise very often.  One biologist was drummed
out of the ASPB a few years ago for going outside his area of expertise.

I will do your spiders for you, but not your carabid beetles.  However, I
know several who can do the carabids, and the first thing I would do is
direct you one of them.  I think that the carabidologists would do the
same for me.

Robin Leech

On Sun, 27 Oct 1996, Richard Hill wrote:

> Rod's comment makes great sense...until you try to implement it.  What is
> (are) the requirement(s)?  Some say you must be an academic to be
> qualified (often because all academics are impartial and free from
> politics...Do you recall your last faculty meeting).  What "institution"
> do you have to be associated with?  Will "institutions" offer associations
> for a fee?  Will the associations be free from politics?
> What test will be given?  Who will administer it?  What disciplines will
> be represented?  Ninty molecular genetics questions, ten morphology
> questions:  5 plant, 3 animal, one fish and one invertebrate, and extra
> credit questions on the internet?
> I am being silly.  ;-}   I am pessimistic, however interested.
> But look at the test for engineers or geologists, or foresters, wildlife
> biologists, fishery biologists, or conservation biologists.  They do not
> weed out many people, and many who pass the test go on to work outside
> their training and experience while hiding behind their registrations.
> Many do not pass the first time, take refresher courses and pass.
> I am concerned that the tests would become so general that anyone with a
> little background could pass them, and then go out and do what they want.
> This of course would depend on the levels of testing that are developed
> and the status associated with the testing authority.
> I am also concerned that you might further distance the volunteer
> community from taxonomy, and that would be the opposite of what is needed.
> Who will police the licensees?  Will police be successful in maintaining a
> high level of proficiency and accuracy?
> I think you will be better off and more successful in developing voucher
> referees who can verify determinations, for a fee, and who have the status
> to cause change by the force of their standing in the taxonomic -and-
> consulting community.
> The line between professional taxonomists and academic taxonomists is thin
> and narrow.  It will grow fainter and narrower as institutions require
> taxonomists to provide more self-support.  When you form a national
> taxonomists union it will have more non-academic members than academic
> members reflecting the relative number of jobs out there.  More
> taxonomists will be members of regional groups than will join the national
> union unless you have something significant to offer.  What will you offer
> that will cause the union's membership to reach significance?
> You wrote:
> >
> >Why should not professionals in any field (taxonomists in this case)
> >seek licensing procedures for persons and firms that do the same work,
> >but without degrees or appropriate association with appropriate institu-
> >tions?  This would require some homegrown types like myself to do some
> >arduous studying to pass examines (in a way, I hope!), but it would help
> >convert the nonsense lists to more useful ones.  It would also help
> >focus businesses and governmental agencies on to the right talent for a
> job.
> >A parataxonomist would have to have his/her "papers" in order to be able
> to
> >operate.  The license might require renewal.  Or their might be grades of
> >licenses.  Essentially, this would convert on the job experience and
> >(successful) self-education and apprenticeships into value.  Just as
> >education is (in part) converted to value by a degree.
> >
> >Rod Tulloss
> >

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