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Credible taxonomic information is vital in order to allow societies to conserve, manage, understand and enjoy the natural world. But support for taxonomy and collections is failing to keep pace with the growing demand for such information.

In this article, Quentin D. Wheeler, Peter H. Raven and Edward O. Wilson argue that taxonomy must facilitate, not obstruct, biodiversity studies and conservation. They say that for this to happen, the taxonomic community must rally around a common vision, critically evaluate its needs, set an ambitious research agenda, and embrace emerging technologies.

Advances in the Internet and other communication technologies suggest that the time is right to re-envisage taxonomy as a large-scale international science. For example, they say, such advances could allow scientists in developing countries to have full access to taxonomic literature formerly reserved for a few great libraries.

Link to full article in Science

Reference: Science 303, 285 (2004)