[Taxacom] CoL and ZooBank

Alastair Culham a.culham at reading.ac.uk
Thu Jul 8 02:19:48 CDT 2010

Hi Bob,

I can answer part of your question.  I submitted a small off-line database
to CoL two years ago (Droseraceae Database) - about 200 species and about
300 names.  There was some paperwork to fill in to agree the basis on which
the data were shared and there is an annual review process where I am asked
to update my data for the new CD.  Periodically there have been emails
giving me the opportunity to arrange review of my data by suggesting other
experts.  The process is pretty painless and seems aimed at helping would be
contributors.  Given the difficulty of getting reviewers to review single
scientific papers for journals it is a bigger challenge to find people who
will review whole databases.

There is a difference between 'authoritative' and 'best-on-offer' and I
think CoL have taken the pragmatic approach of using the best on offer while
continuing to look around to see what is there.  The partners - Catalogue of
Life and ITIS - are both easy to find on the web so a quick Google search
will track them down.  Realistically I think the onus is on would be
contributors to contact the database - but I know also that the compilers of
CoL do go looking for new sources so the process is arguably more active
than the Wiki approach.

Perhaps CoL need to set up an adoption process for orphaned databases to
ensure they don't go unloved for ever :-)



Dr Alastair Culham
Centre for Plant Diversity and Systematics
Plant Science Laboratories
School of Biological Sciences
University of Reading
Reading, RG6 6AS

Senior Resident Tutor, Lakeside Group
Programme Director, MSc Plant Diversity
School Learning Technology Coordinator
Associate Editor, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Bob Mesibov
Sent: 08 July 2010 07:51
To: Karen.Wilson at rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] CoL and ZooBank

Hi, Karen.

That's one of my questions part-answered, because I still don't know "what
happens when source databases (e.g. SysMyr) get orphaned, rapidly get out of
date and inaccurate, yet persist as authoritative feed-in's".

You also raise another question, because the Species 2000 site advises "all
databases go through a peer review process prior to being included". What
peer review process?
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
03 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570


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