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      When mycologists describe new species, not all relevant information is provided (clearly enough)

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          Taxonomic mycology struggles with what seems to be a perpetual shortage of resources. Logically, fungal taxonomists should therefore leverage every opportunity to highlight and visualize the importance of taxonomic work, the usefulness of taxonomic data far beyond taxonomy, and the integrative and collaborative nature of modern taxonomy at large. Is mycology really doing that, though? In this study, we went through ten years’ worth (2009–2018) of species descriptions of extant fungal taxa – 1,097 studies describing at most ten new species – in five major mycological journals plus one plant journal. We estimated the frequency at which a range of key words, illustrations, and concepts related to ecology, geography, taxonomy, molecular data, and data availability were provided with the descriptions. We also considered a range of science-demographical aspects such as gender bias and the rejuvenation of taxonomy and taxonomists as well as public availability of the results. Our results show that the target audience of fungal species descriptions appears to be other fungal taxonomists, because many aspects of the new species were presented only implicitly, if at all. Although many of the parameters we estimated show a gradual, and in some cases marked, change for the better over time, they still paint a somewhat bleak picture of mycological taxonomy as a male-dominated field where the wants and needs of an extended target audience are often not understood or even considered. This study hopes to leave a mark on the way fungal species are described by putting the focus on ways in which fungal taxonomy can better anticipate the end users of species descriptions – be they mycologists, other researchers, the public at large, or even algorithms. In the end, fungal taxonomy, too, is likely to benefit from such measures.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Taxonomic triage and the poverty of phylogeny.

          Revisionary taxonomy is frequently dismissed as merely descriptive, which belies its strong intellectual content and hypothesis-driven nature. Funding for taxonomy is inadequate and largely diverted to studies of phylogeny that neither improve classifications nor nomenclature. Phylogenetic classifications are optimal for storing and predicting information, but phylogeny divorced from taxonomy is ephemeral and erodes the accuracy and information content of the language of biology. Taxonomic revisions and monographs are efficient, high-throughput species hypothesis-testing devices that are ideal for the World Wide Web. Taxonomic knowledge remains essential to credible biological research and is made urgent by the biodiversity crisis. Theoretical and technological advances and threats of mass species extinctions indicate that this is the time for a renaissance in taxonomy. Clarity of vision and courage of purpose are needed from individual taxonomists and natural history museums to bring about this evolution of taxonomy into the information age.
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            PlutoF—a Web Based Workbench for Ecological and Taxonomic Research, with an Online Implementation for Fungal ITS Sequences

            DNA sequences accumulating in the International Nucleotide Sequence Databases (INSD) form a rich source of information for taxonomic and ecological meta-analyses. However, these databases include many erroneous entries, and the data itself is poorly annotated with metadata, making it difficult to target and extract entries of interest with any degree of precision. Here we describe the web-based workbench PlutoF, which is designed to bridge the gap between the needs of contemporary research in biology and the existing software resources and databases. Built on a relational database, PlutoF allows remote-access rapid submission, retrieval, and analysis of study, specimen, and sequence data in INSD as well as for private datasets though web-based thin clients. In contrast to INSD, PlutoF supports internationally standardized terminology to allow very specific annotation and linking of interacting specimens and species. The sequence analysis module is optimized for identification and analysis of environmental ITS sequences of fungi, but it can be modified to operate on any genetic marker and group of organisms. The workbench is available at http://plutof.ut.ee.
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              NeXML: Rich, Extensible, and Verifiable Representation of Comparative Data and Metadata

              In scientific research, integration and synthesis require a common understanding of where data come from, how much they can be trusted, and what they may be used for. To make such an understanding computer-accessible requires standards for exchanging richly annotated data. The challenges of conveying reusable data are particularly acute in regard to evolutionary comparative analysis, which comprises an ever-expanding list of data types, methods, research aims, and subdisciplines. To facilitate interoperability in evolutionary comparative analysis, we present NeXML, an XML standard (inspired by the current standard, NEXUS) that supports exchange of richly annotated comparative data. NeXML defines syntax for operational taxonomic units, character-state matrices, and phylogenetic trees and networks. Documents can be validated unambiguously. Importantly, any data element can be annotated, to an arbitrary degree of richness, using a system that is both flexible and rigorous. We describe how the use of NeXML by the TreeBASE and Phenoscape projects satisfies user needs that cannot be satisfied with other available file formats. By relying on XML Schema Definition, the design of NeXML facilitates the development and deployment of software for processing, transforming, and querying documents. The adoption of NeXML for practical use is facilitated by the availability of (1) an online manual with code samples and a reference to all defined elements and attributes, (2) programming toolkits in most of the languages used commonly in evolutionary informatics, and (3) input–output support in several widely used software applications. An active, open, community-based development process enables future revision and expansion of NeXML.

                Author and article information

                Pensoft Publishers
                10 September 2020
                : 72
                : 109-128
                [1 ] Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre, University of Gothenburg, Box 461, 405 30 Göteborg, Sweden University of Gothenburg Gothenburg Sweden
                [2 ] Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology, Uppsala Biocentre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden wedish University of Agricultural Sciences Uppsala Sweden
                [3 ] Nofima – Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research, P.O. Box 210, 1431 Ås, Norway Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Oslo Norway
                [4 ] Department of Organismal Biology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden Uppsala University Uppsala Sweden
                [5 ] Department of Mathematical Sciences, Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden University of Technology and University of Gothenburg Gothenburg Sweden
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: R. Henrik Nilsson ( henrik.nilsson@ 123456bioenv.gu.se )

                Academic editor: T. Lumbsch

                Louisa Durkin, Tobias Jansson, Marisol Sanchez, Maryia Khomich, Martin Ryberg, Erik Kristiansson, R. Henrik Nilsson

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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