[Taxacom] Chameleons, GBIF, and the Red List

Roderic Page Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk
Thu Aug 21 05:20:32 CDT 2014

Just to follow up on this discussion:

Stephen, I think I often come across as grumpy, but your cynicism makes me look like a fanboy, so thank you for that ;) Can we maybe assume that GBIF’s primary goal isn’t to keep bureaucrats happy, that it’s genuinely trying to provide access to basic biodiversity information in one place because that seems like a worthwhile goal - leaving aside whether GBIF is the best way to tackle that goal.

Bob, if I understand your argument correctly, it’s that access to mostly unveiled biodiversity data isn’t much use, and in your view that’s mostly what GBIF is serving up. Assuming that it would be nice to have access to good-quality distributional data in one place, what if GBIF provided, say, distributions of species that had been cleaned and had some degree of expert scrutiny. In other words, say a researcher publishes an evidence-based distribution map, what if that was stored on GBIF in a citable form (e.g., had a DOI), and others could download that distribution and make use of it?

I guess this was the thinking behind the now abandoned SDR project (see https://code.google.com/p/gbif-sdr/wiki/PortalIntegration ), and is perhaps where the Map of Life http://mol.org is headed (although at the moment it’s simply showing you a bunch of distributions from different sources).

Lyubo, I couldn’t agree more, having links to literature related to a record would be great. Many of our online biodiversity databases are devoid of links to the evidence for a particular assertion, but as more and more literature comes online we can do something to fix that. +1 for extracting from the literature, especially if we can automate this at scale (although that will give Bob nightmares).



Roderic Page
Professor of Taxonomy
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
Graham Kerr Building
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK

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