[Taxacom] Taxonomist Appreciation Day
John P. Sullivan
jpsullivan65 at gmail.com
Thu Mar 22 19:45:40 CDT 2018
I’ll be so bold as to relate here the best idea I ever heard to increase appreciation for taxonomists, taxonomy, and natural history collections. I can’t recall who I heard this from, but I’ve never understood why it wouldn’t work.
The idea is:
• All journals that publish biological research (of all kinds) adopt a policy stipulating that the first appearance of a biological species name in an article be in the form binomen + authority, (e.g. Muusoctopus longibrachus (Ibáñez, Sepúlveda & Chong, 2006)).
• All such citations must also appear in the Literature Cited section of the paper (this is the important part).
• Also, authors must specify how every species in their study was identified and cite any taxonomic work used to do so. This is not so different from citing the software you used for your phylogenetic analysis, which everyone already does.
This would represent very little cost or effort from authors or publishers. Yet imagine the effect on the h-index of publishing taxonomists. For better or worse, this is the metric used in job searches and in tenure committees. Carolus Linnaeus would become the most cited scientist in history very quickly, but it would be good for those of us less prolific & still kicking, as well. Suddenly, specimen collections would become citation factories.
One could argue that GenBank (and the other INSDC repositories) only became a thing because journals required authors to deposit their nucleotide sequences in them. Collectively, the science publishing industry could save taxonomic science and natural history collections by enforcing this simple practice.
What’s wrong with this idea? Also, let me know who first proposed something like this, if someone has.
~ John Sullivan
> On 2018-03-22, at 4:56 PM, Roderic Page <Roderic.Page at glasgow.ac.uk> wrote:
> I think the quickest way to make progress is to focus on authors of papers first, and perhaps linking papers to publishers. Authors are probably easier to identify than collectors. Could focus on journals published by museums and herbaria which then gives something for then to make use of (these are the people publishing in our journals).
> There are databases of collectors, couple these with authors of taxonomic papers, and lists of taxa in those papers and one could likely have simple probabilistic matching algorithms to suggest likely matches (S.Knapp collecting Solanum is likely the Sandy Knapp who authored a paper on that species).
> I completely agree that identifying the drivers that matter is key to this, as interesting as identifying and crediting collectors is, I’m not sure this will be compelling enough. Underlying ORCID is the driver to quantify and rank contributions of authors and their host institutions, and there is big money associated with the outcome of such exercises, hence there is also money involved in generating those metrics. If it is a vanity or intellectual exercise only we may struggle to get engagement.
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> From: Shorthouse, David <davidpshorthouse at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 01:00
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Taxonomist Appreciation Day
> To: Roderic Page <roderic.page at glasgow.ac.uk>
> Cc: Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> 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.
>> 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>
>> 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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