Contributors to the Tree of Life: Coordinators
A coordinator for a group has the following duties:
- Choosing authors
- Choosing coordinators for subgroups
- Asking authors and coordinators to register
- Serving as editors for pages of subgroups
- Helping authors and subcoordinators find resources
- Checking on progress
The Tree of Life is a community effort, and we request that coordinators enlist the support of as many members of the community as is reasonable (this will, in part, make it easier to acquire the desired knowledge and images, and to distribute the workload). In fact, we actively discourage coordinators from "going it alone", and authoring a large group by themselves; they will be expected to choose coordinators and authors for subclades, if other people are more appropriate than they are for those portions of the Tree.
The coordinator of a page will need to choose authors for the page. A coordinator should be the author of a page only if the coordinator is the most appropriate author for that group; if other researchers are more appropriate, they should be invited to contribute. For detailed discussion about author choice, see the author page.
If coordinators would like to introduce the Tree of Life project to a potential author, we recommend that they refer them to the following web page: A Brief Description of the Tree of Life Project. This page gives a basic overview of the project along with a list of links providing additional information.
Choosing coordinators for subgroups
A coordinator for a group will need to choose coordinators for subgroups. The following properties should be sought in coordinators:
- Knowledge of phylogeny of the group
- Open-minded, non-dogmatic view about the phylogeny of the group
- Knowledge of morphological and molecular evidence, as well as fossil groups
- Congenial relationships with systematists who work on the clade
- Enthusiasm for the project and time to work on it
We encourage collaborative efforts. The ideal collection of coordinators will (collectively) fulfill the above criteria. Familiarity with computers is a bonus but not required.
One of the coordinators should be designated as the lead coordinator, to help ensure that progress will be made.
Asking contributors to register
When contributors agree to participate in the project, at the request of a coordinator, that coordinator should encourage the contributor to register for the project, as that is the only mechanism whereby the contributor will be entered into the project's database and continue to receive information about the project.
Information on how to register is provided on the following WWW page: http://tolweb.org/tree/sep/register.html
Serving as editors for pages of subgroups
The coordinators for a page will serve as associate editors for that page, reviewing the content of the page, and helping the ToL editors choose reviewers if the page is subject to peer-review.
For example, imagine a page for a family of insects that contains five subfamilies. As is normal, the author of the family page is coordinator for the subfamily pages. Once the five subfamily pages are completed, it will be up to the coordinator to check the quality of those five pages. If the coordinator is herself an author of a page for a subfamily, then the coordinator cannot serve as her own editor; editorial duties should be passed toward the root of the entire Tree until a different coordinator is encountered. The root coordinator of the entire Tree of Life project (David Maddison) will serve as editor for all pages.
Editorial duties for a page currently involve checking the page for the following items:
- Quality of the content
- Conformity to the format of a Tree of Life page, including following of the rules described under General Principles of Page Design. (ToL editors will also check for this)
- Grammar and spelling. (ToL editors will also check for this)
Helping authors and subcoordinators find resources
Some authors of pages will not have the computer resources or knowledge to allow them to collect materials (e.g., digital images) and produce and publish the Tree of Life pages themselves. Coordinators are encouraged to provide technical help to authors of subgroups whenever possible. Upon request, ToL editors will assist authors in getting started and in trouble shooting preliminary pages. Furthermore, we can provide full composition services for authors who lack the time or resources to build their own pages. Coordinators or authors who require assistance should contact us at .
Checking on progress
The coordinator of a page should contact the author of a page from time to time, to check in on the progress of the page. In addition, any coordinators of subgroups should be contacted to check in on the progress of coordination of those groups.