[Taxacom] Journal/Wiki publication and dissemination of a new taxon description

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Feb 7 19:41:16 CST 2011

some thoughts on Species-ID, for what they are worth:

(NOTE: I am an admin and a beauracrat on Species-ID, but I was not involved 
directly in its creation)

so, in life it isn't how things are that is important, it is how they are 
perceived ...

many taxonomists perceptions of Wikispecies/-pedia is that "you don't know who 
has written the info" and that there is no data security ...

Species-ID was developed, in part, to eliminate those worries, which it might 
do, but actually I don't think there is any real difference in these factors 
between Wikispecies/-pedia and Species-ID, just a difference in perception, but 
that's OK, because in both cases you do know who has written the info (unless 
they *choose* anonymity), and Wikispecies data is just as secure (by way of the 
edit history). Even if a Wikispecies/-pedia contributor chooses anonymity, that 
don't matter either, because NOR requires that all items of information be 
referenced with cited sources ...

... the *real* advantage of Species-ID is the lack of a NOR policy - this is why 
I am keen on the site. Although it is not "peer reviewed", peer review is often 
"less than perfect" anyway, and the onus is on a Species-ID contributor to write 
a convincing article (that the reader can act as their own "peer reviewer" of, 
and accept or reject accordingly)...

Anyway, it seems that the main reason for Species-ID is to do things like they 
have done for Neobidessodes darwiniensis, i.e. simultaneous traditional/wiki 
publication of new taxa. While this idea is good, I tend to think that there is 
a bit too much repetition of what is already in the open access publication in 
ZooKeys. If one can make the key a bit more interactive than the ZooKeys 
version, then fine, but otherwise I think the Species-ID page might function 
better just as a place to put corrigenda and addenda, rather than repeating info 
from the ZooKeys version. For example, the species is known at present only from 
the unique holotype. It is quite possible that additional material will turn up 
at some stage, and it might not warrant a traditional publication to report 
this, but Michael or someone could just sit down at his computer and type the 
details of the new material in on the corrigenda and addenda page. Little bits 
of new information on the species could be made public trivially easily and 
without publication delays ...

So, my idea for a Neobidessodes darwiniensis page on Species-ID would be to just 
give the basic name details, links to the original publication, Wikispecies, and 
whatever other links are relevant, and then just a corrigenda and addenda 
heading which can be added to at any stage ...

Lyubo Penev's announcement seems to have gotten buried among the evolution 
education and odometer georeferencing threads. This is definitely worth a look:


One way to see the species-ID wiki is that it's a Wikipedia variant, i.e. a 
Wikipedia species page with elements of Wikispecies and a lot more detail. Or 
maybe a vastly improved and liberated EOL page.

The thought that intrigues me is: what a fantastic resource the species-ID pages 
would now be for the first Linnean species, if only we'd had the Net and digital 
tools 250 years ago!

<irony>Anyway, since nearly all the world's *important* species are named and 
properly classified nowadays, we don't really need a species-ID wiki. It would 
be different if most of the world's *important* species were still undescribed, 
because we could use a species-ID wiki to build up knowledge about a whole range 
of new taxa using 'crowd-sourced' information.</irony>
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
Ph: (03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Webpage: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/?articleID=570


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From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Cc: Lyubomir Penev <info at pensoft.net>
Sent: Tue, 8 February, 2011 2:04:47 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Journal/Wiki publication and dissemination of a new taxon 


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