An expert botanist gave me some feedback about a table of RG observations I shared in the public domain:
“What I don’t like about the table is that the source seems to be a crowd-sourced website (inaturalist) which, I would possibly ignore completely as wholly incomplete and equally unreliable unless it could be shown that some academic rigour had gone into the data collection and collation. If that is the only source of data available (and I would not conclude it to be anything approaching a ‘survey’ as such), I would ask myself what value adding such a random list serves to an article.”
In this case, I did all the observations myself, as the solo observer of a project. I am confident that the table contains at least 90% of the macroscopic species observable in the geographic area of the project. The majority of the IDs have been from professional experts (eg, head curator of local herbarium, etc).
However, I’m a little unclear about what I can say with respect to the “academic rigour” of the observations or IDs. For the obs: I simply walked around and around and around, over the course of many days at many times of the year, and photographed any species which looked unique. Would there have been a more scientific way to collect the data?
I’d appreciate your thoughts on how I could respond to this.
Is it the suggestion that RG observations lack academic rigour correct or incorrect?
What is the definition of a “survey”? Is it possible for citizen scientists to conduct a “survey” on using iNaturalist? If one citizen has been through an area, capturing every species they could possibly find over an extended period of time, does this qualify as a “survey”?
Here are links to what I’m referring to: