[Taxacom] taxonomic names databases

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Sep 2 18:12:21 CDT 2016


Unfortunately, that hope is about as hopeful as perfect peer review! For one thing, the aggregating process tends to keep the bad stuff floating.


--------------------------------------------
On Sat, 3/9/16, 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: Saturday, 3 September, 2016, 10:43 AM
 
 #yiv9556798659 #yiv9556798659 -- P
 {margin-top:0;margin-bottom:0;}#yiv9556798659
 
 
 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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