Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More on the Global Mammal Assesment

Simon Stuart wrote a rebuttal on taxacom and conservation commons listserve, where I tried to reply. So I went back to follow all the links he provides and have to confess, that there are the shape files online available, albeit without any metadata attached to them and as zip files, and of course no primary data they just do not deal with. So I downloaded the elephant shrew data sets and opened it in ArcView to have a look at the shape files. They are very coarse, similar to what we did for our taxonomic works where we drove nice circles. From there I went to the Red List site and looked up the tiger and some of the elephant shrews. At the bottom of the page there was a template how this page would have to be cited. Fair enough.

Now, that I have the famous Mammals of East Africa by Kingdon, I thought, why not look up what he has to say about this species. And here it is: The very same map, with all the collections he checked up marked.

It seems to me odd, that somebody can just copy and paste a figure from a scientific work without citing the source (Kingdon, J. 1974. East African Mammals. An Atlas of Evolution in Africa. Vol. 2A, Academic Press, London. Page 42) and at the same time loosing data, both regarding the distribution and the populations.

Since all the distribution maps of the species pages can be downloaded - and will be downloaded by many people, the proper citation of the materials used should be given. The way it's done all the links to the original work is lost.


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