Improving taxonomy - example from arachnology

We scrutinize spider taxonomy over the last decade, evaluating what type of data were used to delineate species, whether data were made freely available, whether an explicit species hypothesis was stated, what types of media were used, the sample sizes, and the degree to which species constructs were integrative. We find that taxonomy remains largely descriptive, not integrative, and provides no explicit conceptual framework. These same trends have been discovered in other animal groups, and therefore we find it logical that taxonomists face an uphill challenge when justifying the scientific rigor of their field and securing the needed resources. To move taxonomy forward, we make recommendations that, if implemented, will enhance its rigor, repeatability, and scientific standards.

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