[Taxacom] Zootaxa papers now in BioStor

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Sat Feb 6 17:53:51 CST 2010

Hi David,

You ask a very good question, though one we have "touched on" already several times on Taxacom. First off, I am in COMPLETE AGREEMENT with you about:

>I am confounded by all these global programs which seem to me to be overlapping, hugely duplicative efforts. I can't help but think there is a lot of resources being wasted here

The answer is that IMHO, Wikispecies is by far the best option, though at present it is still hideously undervalued by the scientific community, alas!

I have to be a tad careful about what I say on Taxacom about "the competition", like EoL, for example. It wouldn't be the first time that the director of some such outfit has responded to me in an overly defensive manner, magnifying and twisting my actual words!

Suffice it to say this: the advantages of Wikispecies are as follows:

(1) it is already up and running;

(2) it is free;

(3) it covers all species of everything, with global scope, including fossils;

(4) it can be updated far more quickly than the alternative sites;

(5) errors can be fixed immediately when spotted, by anyone who notices them;

(6) it doesn't restrict who can contribute;

(7) information added to Wikispecies is subject to true open-ended global peer review ...

The alternative sites are expensive, restrict who can contribute, difficult to keep up-to-date, and errors are locked in, and it is typically very difficult to get them corrected ...

As for the expectation that you should add information to Wikispecies for free, well you get out of it what you put in. If you need good biodiversity information on a regular basis, then you should be prepared to make a contribution. The alternative is for millions of dollars to be spent on perpetuating the huge beauracracies associated with the closed sites, potentially or actually at the expense of funding for primary taxonomic research ...

A basic, but reasonably good example of my Wikispecies contributions is http://species.wikimedia.org/wiki/Doxozilora_punctata, with features:
(1) an image of a specimen that I have taken and uploaded and identified (possibly the only photo on the web, or even in existence, of that genus);
(2) DOI linking to references;
(3) utilisation of Internet Archive (if you click on the Internet Archive link to the Broun reference, the original description should pop up like magic!)


From: David Wagner [davidwagner at mac.com]
Sent: Sunday, 7 February 2010 12:22 p.m.
To: Stephen Thorpe
Cc: taxacom
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Zootaxa papers now in BioStor


Why are you putting energy into Wikispecies instead of EOL
(encyclopedia of life) or GBIF (global biodiversity information
facility) or any of a number of other ambitious, database web sites?

I am confounded by all these global programs which seem to me to be
overlapping, hugely duplicative efforts. I can't help but think there
is a lot of resources being wasted here that could be better directed
towards immediate, concrete conservation needs.

There many sites of a more restricted, regional focus, too. I've
refused to contribute to most of them, despite numerous invitations,
because I am wearied by the thought of pounding sand down the wrong
rat hole.

And, I'm surprised at the expectation of many that I should offer for
free, without royalties or tight copyright retention, unfunded
independent work that I should be compensated for.

Your insights?

Is this appropriate for another thread? I'm new to taxacom and maybe
have missed these kinds of discussions.


David H. Wagner, Ph.D.
Northwest Botanical Institute
P.O. Box 30064
Eugene, OR 97403-1064

davidwagner at mac.com


On Feb 6, 2010, at 2:43 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:

>  on Wikispecies I am placing Zootaxa papers

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