[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Wed Jun 17 16:01:55 CDT 2009

Here are two issues that relate to your note:
1) Many believe science is about making a hypothesis and testing it. It
might help if species descriptions address this.

   Something like:

 "I hypothesize that there is a separate species represented by these
specimens and having these characteristics"

-- then support this hypothesis with data

   Proving something is a species might be a little difficult, but you get
the idea

2) Under the current way of doing things, it seems almost impossible that a
species description or revision can be adequately peer reviewed or

On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 1:26 PM, Maarten Christenhusz <
m.christenhusz at nhm.ac.uk> wrote:

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

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