[Taxacom] bioRxiv preprint: To increase trust, change the social design behind aggregated biodiversity data

David Campbell pleuronaia at gmail.com
Fri Jun 30 10:39:34 CDT 2017


Conversely, aggregators are in a unique position to cause problems with
homonyms, if they fail to adequately account for them in the aggregation
process.  Both actual homonyms and near-homonyms likely to be confused by
error need to be taken into consideration.  As the article points out,
maintaining taxonomic data about higher categories is a key part of this
process.  Otherwise, you can get an aggregate database insisting that all
errors must be the fault of source data compilers when in fact the
aggregator incorrectly assigned a species in the senior homonym snail genus
to the junior homonym sponge genus through the process of aggregation; both
source databases were correct.  Even having a mechanism to deal with
homonyms is no guarantee that data input will make correct use thereof -
crowdsourcing requires quality control.

On Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 4:09 AM, Paul van Rijckevorsel <dipteryx at freeler.nl>
wrote:

> It is good to see attention paid to this issue.
>
> What seems to be missing is the nomenclatural
> angle. There are a lot of names that may not be
> used for nomenclatural reasons. An aggregator
> is in a unique position to do something about
> these: homonyms especially will leap out if
> datasets are added together.
>
> Paul
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Nico Franz" <nico.franz at asu.edu>
> To: "TAXACOM" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Sent: Thursday, June 29, 2017 6:23 PM
> Subject: [Taxacom] bioRxiv preprint: To increase trust, change the social
> design behind aggregated biodiversity data
>
>
> Dear Taxacom: Bit of a different, social angle here on the biodiversity
>> aggregation/trust issue. Hopefully of interest to some. Cheers, Nico
>>
>> http://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/06/28/157214
>>
>> Abstract
>>
>> Growing concerns about the quality of aggregated biodiversity data are
>> lowering trust in large-scale data networks. Aggregators frequently
>> respond
>> to quality concerns by recommending that biologists work with original
>> data
>> providers to correct errors "at the source". We show that this strategy
>> falls systematically short of a full diagnosis of the underlying causes of
>> distrust. In particular, trust in an aggregator is not just a feature of
>> the data signal quality provided by the aggregator, but also a consequence
>> of the social design of the aggregation process and the resulting power
>> balance between data contributors and aggregators. The latter have created
>> an accountability gap by downplaying the authorship and significance of
>> the
>> taxonomic hierarchies - frequently called "backbones" - they generate, and
>> which are in effect novel classification theories that operate at the core
>> of data-structuring process. The Darwin Core standard for sharing
>> occurrence records plays an under-appreciated role in maintaining the
>> accountability gap, because this standard lacks the syntactic structure
>> needed to preserve the taxonomic coherence of data packages submitted for
>> aggregation, leading to inferences that no individual source would
>> support.
>> Since high-quality data packages can mirror competing and conflicting
>> classifications, i.e., unsettled systematic research, this plurality must
>> be accommodated in the design of biodiversity data integration. Looking
>> forward, a key directive is to develop new technical pathways and social
>> incentives for experts to contribute directly to the validation of
>> taxonomically coherent data packages as part of a greater, trustworthy
>> aggregation process.
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>>
>> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 30 Some Years, 1987-2017.
>>
>>
>> ---
>> Deze e-mail is gecontroleerd op virussen door AVG.
>> http://www.avg.com
>>
>>
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> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 30 Some Years, 1987-2017.
>



-- 
Dr. David Campbell
Assistant Professor, Geology
Department of Natural Sciences
Box 7270
Gardner-Webb University
Boiling Springs NC 28017


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