[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Maarten Christenhusz m.christenhusz at nhm.ac.uk
Wed Jun 17 13:26:49 CDT 2009

Dear Taxacommers,


One of the biggest problems we are facing in taxonomy today is the
acceptance as a science and appreciation by other biological
disciplines. Of course there are some that do acknowledge, but largely
taxonomy is used as a tool: Flora's, Fauna's, checklists, monographs and
revisions are used by other biological scientists, but are often not
cited, especially when there are huge numbers of species names involved,
such as in ecological and phylogenetic studies. Because in this day and
age scientists get judged by citation indices and their number of
publications in high impact factor journals, it is almost impossible to
do get traditional taxonomy financed. We taxonomists simply do not score
high in impact factors, and that reflects immediately in the
availability of grants and well-paid jobs in taxonomy. 

A simple benefit would be (and this is of course not the sole solution),
if journals would demand proper citation for scientific names, instead
of inline citation with abbreviated authors as nowadays usually is the
case in botany. 

So instead of writing: "Flowering Dactylis glomerata L. gives many
people in Europe hay fever attacks" it is better to write "Flowering
Dactylis glomerata Linnaeus (1753) gives many people in Europe hay fever
attacks", and cite Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum 1. in the
references. If floras and species get cited this way, the citation
indices will go up. 

Don't we also cite the article if we use a well-established method,
formula, equation or DNA primer? I think it is about time we get cited
properly. Please pass this on to all major biological journals.


Best wishes,

Maarten Christenhusz


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