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Free Content The Future of Botanical Monography: Report from an international workshop, 12–16 March 2012, Smolenice, Slovak Republic

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Monographs are fundamental for progress in systematic botany. They are the vehicles for circumscribing and naming taxa, determining distributions and ecology, assessing relationships for formal classification, and interpreting long-term and short-term dimensions of the evolutionary process. Despite their importance, fewer monographs are now being prepared by the newer generation of systematic botanists, who are understandably involved principally with DNA data and analysis, especially for answering phylogenetic, biogeographic, and population genetic questions. As monographs provide hypotheses regarding species boundaries and plant relationships, new insights in many plant groups are urgently needed. Increasing pressures on biodiversity, especially in tropical and developing regions of the world, emphasize this point. The results from a workshop (with 21 participants) reaffirm the central role that monographs play in systematic botany. But, rather than advocating abbreviated models for monographic products, we recommend a full presentation of relevant information. Electronic publication offers numerous means of illustration of taxa, habitats, characters, and statistical and phylogenetic analyses, which previously would have been prohibitively costly. Open Access and semantically enhanced linked electronic publications provide instant access to content from anywhere in the world, and at the same time link this content to all underlying data and digital resources used in the work. Resources in support of monography, especially databases and widely and easily accessible digital literature and specimens, are now more powerful than ever before, but interfacing and interoperability of databases are much needed. Priorities for new resources to be developed include an index of type collections and an online global chromosome database. Funding for sabbaticals for monographers to work uninterrupted on major projects is strongly encouraged. We recommend that doctoral students be assigned smaller genera, or natural portions of larger ones (subgenera, sections, etc.), to gain the necessary expertise for producing a monograph, including training in a broad array of data collection (e.g., morphology, anatomy, palynology, cytogenetics, DNA techniques, ecology, biogeography), data analysis (e.g., statistics, phylogenetics, models), and nomenclature. Training programs, supported by institutes, associations, and agencies, provide means for passing on procedures and perspectives of challenging botanical monography to the next generation of young systematists.
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Document Type: Case Report

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Botany, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, 845 23 Bratislava, Slovak Republic; Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, Benátská 2, 128 01 Praha 2, Czech Republic;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Biodiversity Center, University of Vienna, Rennweg 14, 1030 Vienna, Austria 3: Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, Armenia 4: Plazi, Zinggstrasse 16, 3007 Bern, Switzerland 5: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 39406, U.S.A. 6: Departamento de Biología Vegetal II, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain 7: División Plantas Vasculares, Museo de la Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina 8: Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20013, U.S.A. 9: Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, U.K. 10: V.L. Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Popov Street 2, St. Petersburg, 197376 Russia 11: Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Straße 6–8, 14195 Berlin, Germany 12: Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland 13: Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Biociencias, Universidade de São Paulo, 05508-090 São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil 14: Institute of Botany, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstraße 31, 93053 Regensburg, Germany 15: Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Pensoft Publishers, Geo Milev Str. No. 13a, 1111 Sofia, Bulgaria 16: Office of the Chief Director: Biosystematics Research and Biodiversity Collections, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Private Bag X101, Pretoria, 001 South Africa; Acocks Chair, Schweickerdt Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002 South Africa; Centre for Functional Ecology, Departamento de Ciências de Vida, Universidade de Coimbra, 3001-455 Coimbra, Portugal 17: New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York 10458, U.S.A. 18: New York Botanical Garden and JSTOR, 2900 Southern Blvd., Bronx, New York 10458, U.S.A. 19: Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri 63166, U.S.A. 20: Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China

Publication date: 2013-02-20

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