[Taxacom] DOIs: it is 2012 and many taxonomic journals are STILL not using them! Why?

Ross Mounce rcpm20 at bath.ac.uk
Wed Sep 12 08:01:33 CDT 2012

> Quoting Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk>:
DOIs are the basis of how publishers most identify their publications, track citations and other use of their output, and it is how bibliographic tools mange references. Any serious attempt to deal with the literature should recognise that these are the identifiers of choice. Given that publishers are telling us when content went online in the DOI (and we could probably also get from CrossRef when the DOI was registered, why don't make use of these tools?

I'd like to further endorse what I infer as Rod's backing for DOIs. [forking the thread topic slightly now...]

It's a huge pity that such prominent taxonomic publications like Taxon and Zootaxa DO NOT assign DOI's for their publications.
[Correct me if I'm wrong, but last time I looked this was still true]

I think this is sheer madness tbh and should be rectified ASAP if these publications want the articles published in them to be more discoverable and used more in the future. There are lots of articles in those journals that are of use to a wider audience than *just* taxonomists we must remember. ISI-indexing and 'existing' online (e.g. allowing Google and others to index too) are not the be all and end all of discoverability. DOI's provide a wide range of excellent digital benefits that most other good journals have embraced as Rod has pointed out.

If a journal doesn't use DOI's it is invisible to me and my research methods. Simple as.
With ~25,000 peer-reviewed journals out there, serious scientific journals need to be machine-discoverable by some standardised mechanism for purposes such as text mining, content mining and other data-intensive research (inc. ...taxonomy). Need I remind everyone of staggering volume of research literature out there? DOI's are the de facto method of choice in academic publishing and are ubiquitous.

I'm not a taxonomist, but my understanding of taxonomy is that it often requires the need to access (read) and reference a wide and hugely diverse range of literature sources. Why not make life easier for yourselves and assign DOIs to articles in taxonomic journals? It may not solve the problems of historical literature** (which I acknowledge are diverse and many), but to quote John Wilbanks / a Chinese proverb:

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." http://del-fi.org/post/28843780726/planting-trees
e.g. The best time to start assigning DOIs was 10 years ago. The second best time is NOW. 

**(and unlike trees, DOIs can be assigned retrospectively e.g. SEALS retrodigitized journals such as Eclogae Geologicae Helvetiae. h/t Rod Page)

Why then do Zootaxa and Taxon and others *wilfully* not use them? 
[Don't just say 'cost' please! The process of publishing costs money & time/effort, and some costs like minting new DOIs must just be accepted as part and parcel of normal academic publishing] 

If you ask me, I'd say it's a massive disservice to current and future scientists & research to NOT assign articles DOIs.

/rant over



Ross Mounce
PhD Student & Panton Fellow
Fossils, Phylogeny and Macroevolution Research Group
University of Bath
4 South Building, Lab 1.07

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