[Taxacom] Declaration on Research Assessment

Les Watling watling at hawaii.edu
Wed Jun 12 16:25:40 CDT 2013

Hi folks,

In my view the problem with all these metrics is that they take the 
short view of science. Of course, for most research fields that is 
fine, as information published 10 years ago has a high probability of 
being out of date by now. Taxonomy, as we know, is very different. We 
still use and cite papers published more than 100 years ago. There is 
no citation index for those old things as far as I know. In fact, I 
wonder what happens when the computer scans my paper and finds Sars, 
G.O. 1895, in the references. Does it just throw that away? Assume its a typo?

So, I think taxonomists should invent a metric that includes the 4th 
dimension... I always tell me department colleagues who are hot on 
some metric to check back in 100 years to see if their paper or mine 
is still being cited. I am sure the citation of most of the papers of 
my colleagues will have diminished to nothing long before that, maybe 
before they are retired...

We should feel good, we are working for posterity. And so we should 
fight the popular science "altimetrics" as strongly as possible....


Les Watling
Professor and Graduate Chair
Department of Biology
2450 Campus Road, Dean Hall Rm 2
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Honolulu, HI 96822

Office phone: 808-956-8621
Cell phone: 808-772-9563

Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation
Research Assoc. Yale Peabody Museum
Research Assoc. Bishop Museum 

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