[Taxacom] Taxonomist Appreciation Day

Shorthouse, David davidpshorthouse at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 10:00:36 CDT 2018

Rod -

I like your approach & I can see how it would help bump up the current
number of taxonomists with ORCID accounts quite a bit. Before we
embark on this, we best have compelling reasons for doing it. Why
should we do this? It's one thing to have a list, quite another to
actually make something happen because it exists. There's the
socio-political angle (i.e. use it to remark on dwindling numbers of
taxonomists & then encourage lobbying for new academic and museum
positions), but I'm more in favour of the short term, practical
approach such that we can capitalize on the potential for network
effects. Give me the ORCID (or other unique identifier) if I give you
someone's name (alive or dead) and a namestring for a taxon is the
kind of service I'd like to see built. But, such a service would be
disappointing until we made other things happen.

I've long been mulling an extension to Darwin Core for occurrence data
providers to better share the unequivocal identity of people engaged
in or have engaged in identifying, collecting, and describing species.
The existing terms identifiedBy, recordedBy, and indeed
scientificNameAuthorship all need to be rethought & parsed for this
purpose. It wouldn't take much to develop such an extension. However,
the real work in sharing more granular data would fall on museums who
haven't got many places to bulk search for people names as expressed
on their specimen labels, sensitive to all the abbreviations and
cultural variants that that requires, and obtain likely results with
unique identifiers like ORCIDs. No sense having a nicely formed
extension to Darwin Core if folks haven't got the tools to reconcile
people names across all disciplines nor recommendations on how to
appropriately store these at their end in their databases. That said,
ORCID has been engaged in providing services that capture alternative
measures of an individual's and an institution's impact such as the
use of facilities. See
There's room here I suspect for occurrence data to play a role in
guiding the discussion. The act of depositing specimens in museums
ought to give some credit to both the museum and the people recorded
on those specimen labels.

What I need is (a) endorsement by the taxonomic community and their
societies that this desirable, (b) endorsement by entities like GBIF
that this is desirable (failure to capitalize on #iamataxonomist is
discouraging), and (c) somewhere to apply for funding to offset
salaries, development costs & hosting service fees to make it happen.
We have day jobs with full-time duties peripherally related to this.
But, I'm convinced that the wider taxonomic and museum communities
across all disciplines need this service.

David P. Shorthouse

On Thu, Mar 22, 2018 at 5:08 AM, Roderic Page
<Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk> wrote:
> Hi David,
> Very cool! I pitched a similar idea to GBIF with a hashtag #iamataxonomist
> but got nowhere. The idea was you could log in with an ORCID and discover
> who was a taxonomist, or whether somebody had published with a taxonomist
> coauthor. I was going to populate it via my work on http://bionames.org for
> animal names, and unreleased work on plant and fungal names. For many of
> these names I have DOIs for the publications which are in turn sometimes
> linked to ORCIDs, so you could capture people who don’t necessary identity
> themselves in https:///orcid.org as taxonomists, or whose papers don’t
> mention “taxonomy”.
> I’m notionally on holiday for the next three weeks, but when I’m back I
> could look at generating a list of ORCIDs from taxonomic papers if that
> would help your project.
> Regards,
> Rod
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
> College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
> Email:  Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk
> Tel:  +44 141 330 4778
> Skype:  rdmpage
> Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/rdmpage
> LinkedIn:  http://uk.linkedin.com/in/rdmpage
> Twitter:  http://twitter.com/rdmpage
> Blog:  http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> ORCID:  http://orcid.org/0000-0002-7101-9767
> Citations:  http://scholar.google.co.uk/citations?hl=en&user=4Z5WABAAAAAJ
> ResearchGate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Roderic_Page
> On 21 Mar 2018, at 03:16, Shorthouse, David <davidpshorthouse at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> All -
> Yesterday was World Taxonomist Appreciation Day so naturally I asked,
> "How many active taxonomists are there"? And secondarily, "Where are
> they & what do they work on?"
> Here's the barebones result: http://taxonomists.shorthouse.net/
> Not there? Get yourself an ORCID at https://orcid.org, add a keyword
> "taxonomist" or "taxonomy" and then link your works. Once a day I poll
> ORCID and fire the titles of your publications through the Global
> Names Recognition and Discovery service, http://gnrd.globalnames.org/
> to glean your taxa of expertise.
> Perhaps by next March 19 we can give this a more professional home,
> have a collective celebration, and use it for something bigger.
> David P. Shorthouse
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