[Taxacom] biodiversity databases

David Wagner davidwagner at mac.com
Sat Feb 6 20:51:07 CST 2010

Any EOL or GBIF champions out there care to respond?

David Wagner

On Feb 6, 2010, at 3:53 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:

> 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!)
> Stephen
> ________________________________________
> 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
> Stephen,
> 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
> David H. Wagner, Ph.D.
> Northwest Botanical Institute
> P.O. Box 30064
> Eugene, OR 97403-1064
> davidwagner at mac.com
> 541-344-3327
> http://web.mac.com/davidwagner/Site/FernZenMosses.html
> On Feb 6, 2010, at 2:43 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> on Wikispecies I am placing Zootaxa papers

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