[Taxacom] e-only from Do rogue taxonomists need rogue publishers?

Pat LaFollette pat at lafollette.com
Tue Feb 9 17:57:01 CST 2010

At 10:45 AM 2/9/2010, Doug Yanega wrote:

>Also, Pat LaFollette wrote:
> >So far as I have been able to discover, no form of electronic record
> >is accepted as permanent by governments, business, or law.

>The amount of money that has been spent on the sequences stored in
>GenBank is absolutely massive. There is no "print version" of
>GenBank; they consider electronic archives to be perfectly
>acceptable. If they can accept it, WE can accept it. There is nothing
>*technically* challenging here, only a source of funding to maintain
>and upgrade the archives.

Dear Doug,

1. If the "economic meltdown" of the past couple years had turned 
into a full scale world wide economic collapse, do you think the 
"massive" funding provided to GenBank by NIH, etc., might have dried up?

2. Isn't the infrastructure of GenBank actually rather fragile, in 
that if considerable funds and labor are not continually invested in 
maintenance of the hardware and databases, the whole edifice would 
collapse in a matter of months?

3. Do you see an ongoing enthusiasm (similar to that for GenBank) for 
providing public funds in perpetuity to maintain permanent digital 
taxonomic literature repositories?

GenBank and the taxonomic literature are different kinds of 
enterprises serving different constituencies and functions.  GenBank 
is an active, dynamic tool serving diverse disciplines and will 
continue to be funded so long as it is seen to serve a valued 
purpose. If those holding the purse strings perceive that to have 
changed, or it is superseded by other priorities, funding could 
diminish or stop.  I would not willingly choose that uncertainty for 
the permanent taxonomic record.  Linking its security to the whims of 
(potentially fickle) funding agencies is not the prudent course.


>Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
>Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
>phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>               http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>    "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
>Taxacom Mailing List
>Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>The Taxacom archive going back to 1992 may be searched with either 
>of these methods:
>(1) http://taxacom.markmail.org
>Or (2) a Google search specified 
>as:  site:mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here

Patrick I LaFollette
Research Associate in Malacology
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
pat at lafollette.com 

More information about the Taxacom mailing list