[Taxacom] Privacy laws and Science [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED] [ Scannedfor viruses ]

Richard Jensen rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Mon Jun 19 08:07:59 CDT 2006

Paul Kirk wrote:

> The quality of an identification can be assigned a value based on the competence of the identifier at the point the identification was made and the difficulty factor for the taxon identified.

But this is exactly the problem - who makes these calls?  Who is in a position to decide the "competence of the identifier at the point the identification was made"?  I will admit that I have a somewhat different perception of some species now, compared to when I was conducting my dissertation research. However, I have also observed that over 30 years later (when borrowing some of the same specimens a second time) I still agree with my original annotation.

I certainly would be uncomfortable establishing a "competency" rating for Josephine Taxonomist based on the stage in her career at which she made a determination. How do you propose we go about doing this?  Should we create a committee of experts for each "group" that can evaluate competency (in which case a great many groups will have a committee of one, or no committee)?  I know from experience that experts will often disagree with novices, yet continued work proves the novice to have been right.  This means that the competency rating would have to be upgraded or downgraded depending on what the future reveals about someone's ids.

Dick J
Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at saintmarys.edu
Notre Dame, IN 46556    | http://www.saintmarys.edu/~rjensen

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