A page looking at a letter to an ecology journal trying to get users of species' names to cite the taxonomic concept used.

Premise: Any study that uses species' names needs to show what the concept is behind the name, because the concept may not be stable. In order to conduct repeatable science, the origin of the concept needs to be tracable, hence needs to be cited.

In practice, an ecological study with many species from a site may often use a field guide or flora treatment. These contain taxonomic concepts which may not be the same as the original publication, but if that's what was used, then that should be cited (rather than original concepts per se). By citing the source of the actual concepts used, the citation burden is pretty small, but writers of floras, etc, will be much better recognised for the practical utility of their work, which is the whole point.

Although floras, etc, are usually published as books and not tracked by ISI, Google scholar web-based citations could be substituted for ISI citations. Arguably, Google scholar citations are better anyway, because they capture online journal articles that are not indexed by ISI.

Desired Outcome: To get ecology and other relevant journals to require their papers to include appropriate citations to taxonomic concpets.

Measurable Goal: A letter to the Editor, or equivalent, in a wide-reaching ecology journal canvassing the ideas.

Challenge: How do you cite "determinations made by comparing to specimens in herbarium X" ? I reckon they need to be checked against a apublished and therefore tracable concpet, such as a flora, etc, even if the original ID was made using herbarium specimens. Thoughts?

-- BernardPfeil - 21 Nov 2008