[Taxacom] taxonomic names databases

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Sep 2 17:32:56 CDT 2016

In this context, I am thinking of peer review as an opportunity for reviewers to catch problems before they are published. The fact that reviewers often let crap go through unchallenged is another problem altogether.

On Fri, 2/9/16, Paul Kirk <P.Kirk at kew.org> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxonomic names databases
 To: "Nico Franz" <nico.franz at asu.edu>, "taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>, "Tony Rees" <tonyrees49 at gmail.com>, "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 Received: Friday, 2 September, 2016, 6:35 PM
 #yiv4125607869 #yiv4125607869 -- P
 OK, let me say it again - peer review is a myth. In that
 statement I mean it's never always as perfect as we want
 or imagine it to be, because perfection is also a myth. If
 an author is interested in 'brownie points' with an
 eye on a possible salary increase
  at the end of the year they go for a high impact factor
 journal to publish their manuscript, if not they set their
 sights lower, and there are journals out there falling over
 themselves for manuscripts to publish (never mind the
 quality, feel the width). And
  some journals ask the author for appropriate reviewers when
 a manuscript is submitted - isn't that the taxonomic
 equivalent of insider trading? I doubt that the WoRMS
 editors change classification on a whim - we are drowning in
 published trees right now and
  if the aforementioned editor sees a tree with a twig
 bearing a sequence tagged with a name they know in a family
 it's not currently placed in why wouldn't they adopt
 that new classification?
 'What we want are experts at tracking and
 making sense of primary taxonomic literature' ...
 one persons 'sence' is another persons
 'nonsense'. And tracking all the recent primary
 literature is impossible for most people because a
  of it is behind a pay-wall.
 OK, off my soapbox now and back to editing Index Fungorum
 From: Taxacom
 <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> on behalf of
 Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 Sent: 02 September 2016 02:07
 To: Nico Franz; taxacom; Tony Rees
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxonomic names
 Tony said
 "Also note that the individual sub-compilations within
 WoRMS are all individually citable (with appropriate
 authorship), it is merely for the entire collection that
 authorship is ascribed to the "WoRMS Editorial
 Which is again to confuse a compiler with an author!
 Biodiversity databases are (or should be) compilations and
 not creative novelties (created outside of peer review, with
 all the subjectivities that entails)! This is independent of
 other issues mentioned
  in this thread.
 On Fri, 2/9/16, Tony Rees <tonyrees49 at gmail.com>
  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxonomic names databases
  To: "Nico Franz" <nico.franz at asu.edu>,
 "taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
  Received: Friday, 2 September, 2016, 12:58 PM
  Hi Nico,
  I do see where you are coming
  from, it's just one point along a spectrum
  where I sit closer to the other end for
  pragmatic reasons ( :) ). Again,
  the example of (let us say, Eschmeyer's Catalog of
  Fishes or
  similar), while generally
  accepting his work as a "point of truth" if
  like, that would not stop me from modifying a
  record obtained from there
  for my own system
  if I believed it was necessary (citing appropriate
  alternative sources etc.).
  Look, one can make (and we are making perhaps)
  a separate argument for a
  system which
  natively incorporates either a single, or a variety of
  alternative taxonomic viewpoints (the former is
  obviously easier to
  implement than the
  latter). Perhaps the latter more closely reflects the
  practices of active taxonomists, however there
  is also (I would contend) a
  clear desire for
  the latter - e.g. a "consensus
  though this may change through time and
  its exact form be argued about -
  for a whole
  class of users of taxonomic data (clients of the
  need e.g. a management hierarchy by
  which to organise their information,
  preferably also one that will be taken up by
  others (such as let us say,
  APGIII for
  angiosperms). OK, APGIII may not be perfect - and has
  been superseded by APGIV anyway -
  but at least you say if your [extant]
  angiosperm data are arranged according to
  APGIII, others will know what you
  talking about.
  From the
  "about WoRMS" page you cited:
  The classification used
  is a ‘compromise’ between established systems and
  recent changes. Its aim is to aid data
  management, rather than suggest any
  taxonomic or phylogenetic opinion on species
  Perhaps this is selling the system a little
  short - in my experience the
  various sector
  editors do try to incorporate recent changes, at least
  these seem to be evidence-based - but
  you will see a tacit acknowledgement
  here of
  the practical value of a single management hierarchy
  many users appreciate.
  Also note that the individual
  sub-compilations within WoRMS are all
  individually citable (with appropriate
  authorship), it is merely for the
  collection that authorship is ascribed to the
  Best - Tony

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