[Taxacom] Why Darwin Core Archive?

L Penev lyubo.penev at gmail.com
Sun Feb 20 09:41:07 CST 2011

Dear Bob,

With all my respect to your arguments, let me also conclude in a nutshell:

1. The DwC-A was created to provide the format for a proper publication of
biodiversity data and I admire the efforts of people who did that. It is
good to publish data, but it is much better to do it properly, that is to
describe the features of a particular dataset (metadata) and to clearly
state what the data fields exactly mean (links to controlled vocabularies).

2. ZooKeys and PhytoKeys will encourage and support authors who want to use
DwC-A to publish their data.

3. GBIF and DwC-A:  Really, I do not see any connection between the DwC-A
and the presence of erroneous records in the GBIF infrastructure.

4. Errors and DwC-A:  Errors could be made at several stages of taxonomic
research, starting from misidentifications in collections, through entering
data in simple data tables and also in conversion to DwC-A. Potential
technical errors in conversions to DwC-A will be easily solved with the
time; the other errors are the real challenge....

Let's be pluralistic. DwC-A does not exclude other ways to publish data and
I would love to know more on alterantives.

Very best,

On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 12:09 AM, Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>wrote:

> 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,
> Bob
> --
> 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

Dr Lyubomir Penev
Managing Director
Pensoft Publishers
13a Geo Milev Street
1111 Sofia, Bulgaria
Fax +359-2-8704282
info at pensoft.net

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