[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Tue Jun 16 23:03:15 CDT 2009


This issues "collect once, use many times" lead to the OECD principles and
guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding"
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/9/61/38500813.pdf 

So, those disseminating research funds - the science ministers of the
developed nations in this case - realized the huge benefit of data being
using in multiple ways.

A very straight forward way to implement this in taxonomy would be that we
produce semantically enhanced taxonomic descriptions that are linked to the
underlying data, that is also available. Pyle et al's paper in Zootaxa's has
been the first simple example, Fisher et al in PLoS One
http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0001787 another
and a more advanced by Miller et al
http://pensoftonline.net/zookeys/index.php/journal/article/view/160 has
recently been published in Zookeys with some comments
http://pensoftonline.net/zookeys/index.php/journal/article/view/210
.

Tools to do this are emerging built on mainstream XML mark up, like the NLM
journal archiving and publishing DTD that has been enhanced with taxonomic
elements(http://sourceforge.net/projects/taxpub/ ). Though in its infancy
this is joining an increasing number of journals being created in XML, and
would also allow to be archived in PubMed Central
http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/  and linked to the huge body of literature
biomedical and life sciences literature, probably one of the most secure
places for longterm availability of publications.

This also facilitates the discovery of data which is at the base of "collect
once, use many times"

Donat


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 8:13 AM
To: leebel at netspace.net.au; Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Also a prime candidate for a phrase I find useful in many data management
activities:

"collect once, use many times"...

   analogous to "enter once, use many times" in database design speak.

Regards - Tony

Tony Rees
Manager, Divisional Data Centre,
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research,
GPO Box 1538,
Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia
Ph: 0362 325318 (Int: +61 362 325318)
Fax: 0362 325000 (Int: +61 362 325000)
e-mail: Tony.Rees at csiro.au
Manager, OBIS Australia regional node, http://www.obis.org.au/ 
Biodiversity informatics research activities:
http://www.cmar.csiro.au/datacentre/biodiversity.htm
Personal
info: http://www.fishbase.org/collaborators/collaboratorsummary.cfm?id=1566


-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Lee Belbin
Sent: Wednesday, 17 June 2009 1:35 PM
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

I fully agree with Pete. I occasionally use the following example to suggest
that it is impossible to determine how data may be used (effectively)...

W.K. de la Mare, (1997). Abrupt mid-twentieth-century decline in Antarctic
sea-ice extent from whaling records. Nature, 389, 57-60.

Bill did estimates of the northern most extent of sea-ice in the Antarctic
based on whaling records of the 19th and 20th century.

My point is - would the whalers have figured out that their records would be
used to detect climate change? Not b likely.

Lee

Lee Belbin
TDWG Secretariat

---
The zero sum mentality is not helpful. Taxonomy needs to fix itself, not
point fingers. Discoveries in Astronomy have helped answer basic questions
in physics, including those of Einstein.

We are also under constant threat of an asteroid or deep space gamma ray
burst that would devastate all life on Earth.

I think that taxonomy will get increased funding when it starts operating
more like the other biological sciences.

Respectfully,

- Pete





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