[Taxacom] FW: wiki's & peer review

k kat koibeatu at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 18 18:19:36 CST 2009

> Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2009 11:39:05 -0800
> From: dyanega at ucr.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Species Pages - purpose
> Thomas Simonsen wrote:
> >On Wikipedia this could potentially be a problem. However, EoL, AToL, 
> >CATE and similar projects are - as far as I know - not open access 
> >where everybody can make contributions to everything, you have to be 
> >approved first. If online species pages are hosted by acknowledge 
> >scientific institutions, organizations and societies, the hosts then 
> >voucher for the quality of the pages - much in the same way publishers
> >voucher for the quality of paper publications.
> It isn't, as far as I can see, simply a matter of access - it's a 
> matter of review. There are numerous taxonomists who are crackpots, 
> but they are sometimes authorities on their groups, and may be 
> resident in prominent institutions; such individuals typically 
> self-publish to avoid legitimate peer review, 
I think you have the shoe on the wrong foot there.  
Legitimate work often needs to be self published to avoid the peer review and quashing by crackpots in prominent institutions.
Or you just have to wait until they die.....
Look how long we had to wait for Continental Drift to be accepted.
First proposed in the 1920's, (1923 I believe) and not accepted until the 1960's after the so-called experts in prominent institutions were dead and buried.
Scientists are human.  Many hold tight to their favorite dogma and resist change.  Especially if proposed by someone younger, or of a gender that feels threatening.
Wiki's may be an good way to get the word out, as long as we use them correctly.
Incidently, my edits have not been altered, indeed, the oversight editor has thanked me for cleaning up a number of taxa, especially where the Code was not followed.


> and they presumably 
> have access to projects such as EoL, where I imagine they may also be 
> free to act without review. Unless I'm mistaken in that respect, 
> Wikipedia is possibly as good as, or even better than, some of these 
> other resources, because there are potentially thousands of people 
> reading a Wikipedia/Wikispecies entry, and thus more likely to spot 
> someone trying to sneak something questionable by.
> For example, the #2 Google hit for the fish species Rod Page 
> mentioned, Chromis circumaurea, is the Wikispecies entry. That's the 
> first link a fish taxonomist would probably look at - and fix, if 
> there were something wrong with it. Open access ALSO means open 
> review; I would argue that allowing anyone to fix a problem is 
> possibly more than a fair trade-off.
> I know of one taxonomist who self-published a work that has been 
> largely rejected by the taxonomic community; all of the genera 
> described, and many of the species, were sunk almost immediately. He 
> resorted to Wikipedia to promote his work, and found myself and 
> others there to prevent him from using Wikipedia as a forum to claim 
> the validity of his taxa - because (a) he hoped to conceal the 
> existence of the work synonymizing his taxa, and we did not let him, 
> since that violates Wikipedia policy against bias, and (b) Wikipedia 
> does not allow self-published sources; he was so disruptive that he 
> has actually been permanently banned from Wikipedia. In essence, the 
> rules defining what constitutes a valid publication in Wikipedia are 
> MORE stringent than the rules in the ICZN.
> Sincerely,
> -- 
> Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
> http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
> "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
> is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The entire Taxacom Archive back to 1992 can be searched with either of these methods:
> http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Or use a Google search specified as: site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom your search terms here

Get more out of the Web. Learn 10 hidden secrets of Windows Live. Learn Now

Get more out of the Web. Learn 10 hidden secrets of Windows Live.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list