[Taxacom] Article 8 compliance

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Thu Mar 30 16:59:19 CDT 2017

Perhaps so, but with what I hear about ever more rand projects for
databasing taxonomy still sinks - and this has been going on for a long
time. In the best of all worlds perhaps you are right. Perhaps if all such
ventures were integrated in a hand in hand way perhaps it would make a
difference. Would like to think so. But in reality, not so sure.

John Grehan

On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 5:29 PM, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

> On 3/30/17 11:41 AM, John Grehan wrote:
>> More like ~$1-2M for initial development, and then something on the order
>> of a few $K per year to maintain, plus occasional small (5-figure) grants
>> to add major new features/etc. as needed/requested by the community.
>> Just a million or so (or much more) here and there for databasing while
>> the
>> practice of taxonomy sinks.
>> It seems you are using the term "databasing" here as if it were an
> enterprise divorced from taxonomy, and maybe even trivializing any efforts
> to maintain a database regardless of its utility. Maybe you're not implying
> that, but in case you are...
> An authoritative database containing all published names for all species
> (plus citations of authorship, year, type specimen, type locality) is not a
> trivial endeavor, and would arguably be the biggest boon to taxonomy since
> Linnaeus. Such a resource would do more to PREVENT taxonomy from sinking
> than just about anything I can think of, because the difficulty of finding
> and retrieving all of this information is presently a monumental challenge,
> and one of the exact things that most profoundly discourages people from
> entering the field of taxonomy.
> If you intend to do a proper taxonomic revision on any group of organisms,
> then you NEED to know exactly how many names there are that have been used
> for that group, who published them, when, and where all of those type
> specimens are - if you don't know all of that, with absolute confidence,
> then the results of your revision are going to be equally lacking in
> confidence. There are very, very few groups of organisms for which all of
> this essential taxonomic groundwork has been compiled into a single
> universally-accessible resource, and that makes taxonomy a right royal pain
> to choose as a career path.
> Expecting taxonomists to devote years of their lives to doing *literature
> searches* (before they can even *begin* a revision!) is one of the reasons
> the practice of taxonomy is sinking, and we should be spending MORE money
> on databasing when those databases help ensure that taxonomists do NOT have
> to go through that sort of ordeal any more. It's not fair to make every
> generation of taxonomists re-invent the wheel this way.
> If what you're bemoaning is that you feel like every nickel for databasing
> is a nickel less for revisionary taxonomy, that's a POLITICAL argument
> about how science is funded, and that's a very different proverbial kettle
> of fish, and fraught with contention and subjectivity. If you dump all of
> science into one big funding pool and ask people to fight to justify their
> slice of the pie, it gets real ugly, real fast. Even if you just treat
> taxonomy as a zero-sum game, you're going to get people at each other's
> throats over how much to allocate to nomenclatural resources, gene
> sequencing, paleontology, revisionary taxonomy, collections improvement,
> and so forth. I don't think we want to go there. ALL of these things are
> integral to the practice of taxonomy and they are ALL worthy of support.
> Sincerely,
> --
> Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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