[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Wed Jun 17 01:18:52 CDT 2009


"A useful first step is to determine if there is a way to allow
peer-reviewed LifeDesks to be considered the same as a printed publication.
Otherwise, the very people that we would like to contribute will have no
professional reason to do so."

 

 

Two points: See the discussion on ICZN listserves regarding online
publications. This will provide you a (non-)answer to it, but at least some
indication where this debate stands.

 

I would get away from LifeDesks but discuss this in a much more generic way
to come up with guidelines and best practices that would be adopted by the
ICZN and the community. LifeDesks, Scratchpads you name it might or might
not fulfill these criteria and might or might not be adopted and used by the
taxonomists.

The important element is to discuss the electronic publications, which
should not be done in a gutenbergian sense, that is with having one static
web page in mind.

 

Donat

 

 

 

 

  _____  

From: Peter DeVries [mailto:pete.devries at gmail.com] 
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 9:43 AM
To: Bob Mesibov
Cc: Donat Agosti; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

 

>What solid evidence is there that the number of working taxonomists has
been increased by the availability of digital tools? >Or are you simply
hopeful that this will happen?

 

I am a firm believer in "if you build it, they will come"

 

Yes, there will be false starts and mistakes, but we can all learn along the
way.

 

The easy availability of information might attract new people and new
interest to taxonomy.

 

Either way, complaining has not appeared to improve funding so we need to
try a new approach.

 

A useful first step is to determine if there is a way to allow peer-reviewed
LifeDesks to be considered the same as a printed publication. Otherwise, the
very people that we would like to contribute will have no professional
reason to do so.

 

Respectfully,

 

- Pete

On Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 11:42 PM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
wrote:

Donat, your anecdotal evidence that people are attracted to certain projects
is very interesting. However every review of taxonomy I have read in the
past 15 years tells me that the number of working taxonomists is decreasing.
What solid evidence is there that the number of working taxonomists has been
increased by the availability of digital tools? Or are you simply hopeful
that this will happen?

And once attracted, how are new taxonomists going to make a living as
professionals? Is the number of job openings for taxonomists increasing?

Note that I am talking about taxonomy in the traditional sense: the
discovery, documentation and classification of life. If you believe that
taxonomy includes gathering up COI barcodes and building trees with them
without careful study of the whole organisms, let alone formally naming and
describing them, then we have another difference of opinion.

--
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html




-- 
---------------------------------------------------------------
Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706
------------------------------------------------------------




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