[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Wed Jun 17 23:10:54 CDT 2009


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


That is, why we need semantically enhanced documents that link to all the
underlying data used in the analyses:
Specimens including standard imagery and geographic data
Morphological data
Gensequences
Morphology
others

It means, that we need the infrastructure to create this data, serve and
archive.
But this is all developing more rapidly (eg GenBank, Morphbank, GBIF,
various ontology projects, digital imaging) than the necessary cultural
change (see for example the discussion win ICZN regarding e-publications and
Zoobank).

If we have the data, we can begin not only to understand better the limits
of a paper (eg how specimens from which region have been included, compared
to other available material), we can reanalyze and thus challenge the
results. But it will also allow others to address different questions.

So, we need to move in this direction.

What could happen is that we use Lifedesk/scratchpads kind of things to
work, and then create export functions exporting the content at a given time
into a journal production workflow to produce proper publications (pdf, hard
copies) and at the same time save the snapshot of the respective site at
this time. This then would allow to add more data and develop the respective
pages. If we would use XML or similar as the underlying format in the
production of journals we could keep all the many links to external
resources and keep the document machine readable.

Donat



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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