Don’t complain about NCBI taxonomy, improve it!

This morning I have learnt that NCBI taxonomy has added the term Dipnotetrapodomorpha, following a demand which I made four days ago on behalf of our database Bgee. More details on the Bgee blog.

I would like to add a more subjective note here. This is the second time that we contact NCBI taxonomy. Previously, we asked them to remove Coelomata which was wrongly used for a grouping at the base of Bilateria. They also reacted very rapidly.

I often hear systematicians complain about NCBI taxonomy. Less complaining among systematicians, and more requests for change to NCBI, would probably be more helpful. When you have an issue with NCBI taxonomy, find references and write a constructive email. I put our recent email to NCBI in the Bgee blog post. For Coelomata, it was easy to cite references to the effect that this was not the proper use of the term, and that the proper use of the term described a discredited grouping (1, 2, 3).

It’s like Wikipedia. Everyone uses it. You can complain that everyone uses a resource that you find sub-par, or you can improve it.

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