[Taxacom] taxonomic names databases

Paul Kirk P.Kirk at kew.org
Fri Sep 2 17:43:55 CDT 2016


Sure, in an ideal world that would happen, but at the end of the day ... no pun intended (23:43 here) ... the best we can hope for is that the good stuff floats to the top and the bad stuff sinks.


Paul

________________________________
From: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Sent: 02 September 2016 23:32
To: Nico Franz; taxacom; Tony Rees; Paul Kirk
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] taxonomic names databases

Paul,
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.
Stephen

--------------------------------------------
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
 {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}#yiv4125607869


 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
 proportion
  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
 databases




 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
 Board"



 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.



 Stephen



 --------------------------------------------

 On Fri, 2/9/16, Tony Rees <tonyrees49 at gmail.com>
 wrote:



  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,

  following

  the example of (let us say, Eschmeyer's Catalog of

  Fishes or

  similar), while generally

  accepting his work as a "point of truth" if
 you

  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
 classification",

  even

  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
 system)

  who

  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

  recently

  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

  are

  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

  relationships.

  -----



  Perhaps this is selling the system a little

  short - in my experience the

  various sector

  editors do try to incorporate recent changes, at least

  where

  these seem to be evidence-based - but

  you will see a tacit acknowledgement

  here of

  the practical value of a single management hierarchy
 here,

  that

  many users appreciate.



  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

  Board".



  Best - Tony














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