[Taxacom] Kickstarter for Taxonomy

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Tue Feb 26 07:14:37 CST 2013

Thanks for this Donat. I must admit to being at a complete loss as to
how to respond. It honestly never occurred to me that the very
foundation of taxonomy would find itself in a situation like this. I
had just assumed that the community would always look after its Code
and that every few years we would give up some time, pay for some
travel, get together, have a few drinks and argue about what was in
the Code, vote on having a vote, vote, and then publish and live with
the decisions. Well, at least until the next get together.

Obviously there are costs all along the way, preparation and
publication of the code, editorial and publication of proposals, etc.
I know memberships, committees, purchases and subscriptions are
involved, and I suspect very strong in-kind and probably cash support
from some institutions, but I am embarrassed to say I do not know any
of the detail and had just taken it for granted that the system works,
has always worked and would always work. I had assumed the system to
be self-healing, so that if one institution was unable to contribute
for some reason, another, or others, would step in to take its place.
Now I am a little less complacent and a little more worried.

But I suspect you are also talking also about scientific publication
and open access in general. This is also important, but a much, much
bigger topic.


On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 8:22 PM, Donat Agosti <agosti at amnh.org> wrote:
> Dear Jim
> At the recent Pro-iBiosphere meeting in Leiden it became clear in the discussion that we need rethink the underlying business models of our institutions. The very simple suggested way out of the open access model in publishing, suggested by a participant publishing floras, was that we pay for each of the pdf we get, similar to the downloads in the music world. But this wrecks open access and eventually kills the entire concept of building an open knowledge system for taxonomy, and eventually sciences and beyond.
> So we need open access, and we have to find ways we can sustain the institutions delivering the content we need.
> When I watch my budgets, both my own and those of my two children, then I observer the normality off additional spending over the last years for gadgets. It is just normal to have the most modern gadget, the newest I-phone, camera, earphones and all with a normality that goes beyond rationality in most cases (unless there is a real improvement), and it is just normal that we pay considerable amounts of money. We also pay a lot of money for services, such as phone bills, internet access, music.
> But in our world, we think differently. We just are used that the services around us are free. More than 100,000 per year would download the publications on antbase; similarly we expect Zoobank to deliver and are frustrated because it does not. The good thing is, that we realize how meager the content is. And why, because we have free access.
> We need a different business model, similar to science funding. NSF is not selling your products, your research results you produce and throw on an open market. No, it pays you, to create the results that will help others to  do things with it that might end up in a better crop protection.  It goes through a peer review process to make sure they can trust you to deliver something of value.
> Similarly, we need to pay the institutions we need and we trust upfront so that they deliver the content we need. The Natural History Museum in London is probably one of the biggest supporter of this ide by providing space for the ICZN, provide them access to one of the world's foremost  natural history library, provide them IT support. The US NSF decided to fund  GNA and Zoobank. But we want more, we want to have a vibrant Zoobank that is the reliable source we want, we can link to and can make an integral part of any modern publication.
> It seems to me that if each of us pays some money to ICZN then we only do the logic step: Instead of paying for downloading for a new piece of music we just pay once a year a fee that we can download as much content as possible
> In the meantime, we can and have to talk to our administration that they support ICZN, that they help to share the burden to maintain it. It is very clear that our governments discover the value of digital content, why else would have Obama's office decided on February 22 that all publicly funded data (and publications) have to become open access? Here it is explicit:
> "In addition to addressing the issue of public access to scientific publications, the memorandum requires that agencies start to address the need to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data produced with Federal funding. Strengthening these policies will promote entrepreneurship and jobs growth in addition to driving scientific progress. Access to pre-existing data sets can accelerate growth by allowing companies to focus resources and efforts on understanding and fully exploiting discoveries instead of repeating basic, pre-competitive work already documented elsewhere." Jon Holdren, Director of OSTP
> I think, we all have to contribute and can no longer complain about others doing a dismal job. The way we do our science changes, so the way we do our business has to change as well to accommodate our cool new world
> Donat
> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Jim Croft
> Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 7:16 AM
> To: Michael A. Ivie
> Cc: Taxacom
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Kickstarter for Taxonomy
> That you have to beg and bully individual charity for what is effectively small change in an institutional context suggests that the system is structurally flawed, not sustainable and in need of a radical rethink.
> jim
> On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 10:54 AM, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:
>> I am pledging $50 personally,and I challenge each one of you
>> zoologists to do the same.
>> Michael Ivie
>> On 2/22/2013 10:38 PM, Donat Agosti wrote:
>>> BTW
>>> Here is the place to pledge your donation: http://iczn.org/
>>> Donat
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Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://about.me/jrc
'Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise.
- Pierre Beaumarchais
'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to
pause and reflect.'
- Mark Twain
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
of doubtful sanity.'
 - Robert Frost

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