[Taxacom] Occurrence data...

Bob Mesibov mesibov at southcom.com.au
Sat Feb 19 16:09:50 CST 2011

Dear Lyubo, 

Thank you for your clarifications of what ZooKeys and PhytoKeys are offering. I was certainly not complaining about people publishing their data as supplements with Pensoft; I have been doing that myself. You concluded:

"ZooKeys and PhytoKeys would like to encourage taxonomists to review this revision and consider publishing your own data in conjunction with your manuscript."

and I assumed you meant publishing data in DCA format, because that was the subject of the rest of your announcement. I apologise if I misinterpreted you.

As for why data publication is mixed up in the discussion with aggregators, etc, you wrote:

"...Darwin Core Archive format. Such an approach permits occurrence data to be downloaded, indexed, published through the GBIF data portal and others, used and re-used... Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) is an international biodiversity informatics data standard and the preferred format for publishing data through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) network."

so perhaps I can be forgiven for reading this as an emphasis on GBIF.

My main point in a nutshell was that while authors may choose to publish their data with you in DCA, this allows for more errors down the line (e.g. in GBIF), and I believe I pointed out one such error and some omissions in my post in the paper's taxon table. DCA is neither widely understood nor easy to use if you are not familiar with Darwin Core markup.

The next problem is 'publishing data for whom?' and enough has been said in this thread to suggest that there are at least 2 classes of data consumers in the Pensoft readership, and their needs differ. There are biologists who want the data for their own research, and there are aggregators who want an easy path to aggregation. You write:

'I dare to list at least five good reasons why authors would be motivated (some are!) to publish their occurrence data in Darwin Core Archive format:'

but these 5 are just good reasons to publish occurrence data, not to publish in DCA format. I have often taken other workers' occurrence data from tables (not in DCA format) and incorporated them into my own tables, or into GIS. It isn't hard to do, but I did this as a member of the biologist-class of your readership interested in the details of the data, not as an aggregator.

Best wishes,
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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