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The Record Pool

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 5:24pm
Just in addition a 'fair'system would see the recorder paid for the records at source. It might also provide more incentive for a wider variety of people to submit records. From casual recorder through to large consultancies. Clearly it would help me get out of bed more often if I knew I could actually cover my costs, rather than my recording activity eroding my currently limited funds for no return.

It appears the current system is encouraging people like myself as a recorder to submit records to ARGs, so they can fund their members (potentially with far less experience than I have) to eeer, collect records. It makes no sense at all. In Essex for example I already hold a store of several hundred ACO. I would rather they were out in the field but I simply can't afford to monitor large numbers of surveys with no return.

In fact it is the only way I can see of doing it fairly at all.

Jon will know the ARGs are not always treated fairly either, so this is not just a personal gripe.

So why not have that sort of system Jon?

If I got a pound per record I submitted it would buy a lot of fuel for my trusty old Land Rover. I'm sure many others here would welcome some income for their efforts also.

Far better than my current situation of spending long hours in the field, all at my own cost and my records remaining very much that, my records.


Edited by GemmaJF - 25 Sep 2012 at 5:35pm
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Iowarth View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 5:49pm

Leaving aside Gemma's interesting and valid comments for the moment, since my post Jon and I have had some further email discussion. While my implication that ARG had let me down remains correct, it is clear that this is in no way Jon's fault. In fact, he is making a valiant attempt to pick up and put the pieces together.

It is apparent that he is succeeding admirably, and as a result I am optimistic that we will have the Record Pool recording system implemented within RAUK in the near future.

It is to be hoped that the quid pro quo of greater presence within the forum of members of local ARGs will also materialise.

Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator

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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Sep 2012 at 6:01pm
Aw you mean we can't have a go at Jon Chris? LOL

I'm sure he is doing his best. Wink

I would be interested though what people think of the idea of recorders being paid at source for records? Could we even pioneer it on here with forum members? 


I did a little calculation based on a data search requested by M&G Ecology Ltd in 2008

Cost of data request = £70

Records returned = 1

So if the recorder had been paid a pound (I'm sure they were not paid anything at all)

Then the ARGs mark up on that record was 6900% for doing nothing more than searching a data base.

Now consider they can use that record over and over again and not a penny was returned to the recorder.

Interesting isn't it!

I would like to see a system where if records are submitted online the recorder is paid via paypal for each record submitted. That would be fair wouldn't it considering the ARG could still stand to make vast profit over the cost of the original record with that level of mark up?

Now even more interesting is the ARG wanted me to then submit the records I collected during the project. (For free) to them.

Hmmm several hundred records to them, when they charged us £70 for 1. You can all guess I suppose that I didn't bother to send the records to the ARG.

Now of course if they had paid M&G Ecology several hundred pounds for them, I might have been bothered to format them and send them in. Which would have fixed the problem they had of extreme under recording in part of their county. (and also added 3 more of the widespread species for the area).

Can of worms - discuss lol. 

What always amazes me is that the system simply 'isn't the way the world works' I can't imagine anything else in life where organisations expect information for free, so they can then sell it and profit from it, with no form of remuneration to those supplying the information. Be it members of the public, keen amateurs, the casual observer, scientist, consultant or whoever. 

So far I've only been told it is for the 'greater good' yet I don't see ARG's actually actively stopping things such as the movement of hundreds of reptiles out of Essex in recent years.....


So should we see something like - £1 for submission of a record (so 12 adders spotted on a Tuesday afternoon = £12) and some sort of percentage paid to the recorder each time the record is used in future such as an ARG charging a consultancy for the data?

I have absolutely no doubt that records remain the copyright of the original recorder, surely if we want to fill in the gaps in recording and encourage more people to submit records this is the only way to go?




Edited by GemmaJF - 25 Sep 2012 at 9:43pm
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 4:36pm

Just chipping in for posterities sake.

Now that I know the information is "sold on" I would never ever, not once never send in any info concerning the Grassies I may see on my travels.

The point you made Gemma with regard to the translocation of reptiles out of Essex is valid.

I am also aware that there are organisations out there out to profit from selling native reptiles whether or not its legal.

I'm not going to assist them finding the ones I know about.

Sorry, I'm keeping schtum as to where I see animals. If  ARGs or anyone else thinks that has an overall disadvantage to reptiles I will just say, well then, you sjould have ensured the safety of those I told you about in the past.

R
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 5:13pm
I've never really understood why very specific records need to be passed on Rob. I know the Essex Field Club now provides data searches through it's website. It provides a distance only from the target site. Much better as it gives an indication of what a consultant ought to expect to find in an area without revealing exact locations.

If that is the level of data going out, then I can't really see why anything more specific than a 6 figure grid location (100m square) needs to go into a database. Further safeguard is that the direction from the target location is not given.

Though for ones own purposes much more accurate records are cool, even if it is just to plot them up on Google Earth!

I certainly think this is the way forward, more a broad brush of species distribution supplied rather than site specifics. In the past I've often been supplied with ten figure grid references, fine to record them, not so great to give them out though.

I thought everyone knew records were sold on (or in the case of ARGs 'donations' asked for doing the search, same thing). Why do you think people keep asking for records to be sent in? I don't ask, I go out and survey, if someone wants to send me their records fine I'll add the to the county database.

Personally I think the whole thing needs massive review, particularly who is benefiting from records and who isn't and far more importantly whether records are being used to effectively protect herps or just fund organisations.  I guess I'm in a position to do that in Essex at least.




Edited by GemmaJF - 26 Sep 2012 at 5:31pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 6:50pm

Hi

I can certainly understand and, in fact agree 100% with Rob and Gemma's reservations (or, to be precise, the reservations that I expect we all have and that they have voiced for us)

Perhaps, in this case, the key question is what is ARG's Data Sharing Policy which governs such information. One trusts that one is in place (perhaps Jon could advise whether this is the case) and if not (bearing in mind that the Record Pool is in its infancy) one should be implemented immediately.

ARC has had one for many years which does provide a considerable degree of protection. It can be found and read in all its length and glory at  http://www.arc-trust.org/policies/data_sharing.php.

A couple of brief extracts which show that they too share the concerns include:-

"Although much of our data is recorded at a spatial accuracy of 1 m, the spatial resolution of information provided to the general public, and possibly to other third parties in certain circumstances, will generally be at 100 m to protect some sensitive recording locations. A resolution of 1 km may be imposed in some cases, such as threatened populations of the adder in London. Records can be flagged as confidential in our database to prevent dissemination, and they can be marked as sensitive to impose restrictions on resolution."

The final section of that Policy also sets out the levels of access given to various bodies and inidividuals which I think you will agree, does balance openness where appropriate but, more importantly control over the detail and level of data given to each of them.

All the best

Chris

Chris Davis, Site Administrator

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 8:57pm
I guess the problem there Chris and I'm not being critical just discussing the issue, is that even 1 km resolution could easily provide the site if one uses Google Earth these days. This is a concern I've had for a while as technology has moved on so much. So given a 1 km reference, I go on Google Earth, about 30 seconds to figure the most likely site?

I remember way back when I was in my twenties going on holiday in the lake district. I kept seeing notices regarding natterjack conservation, so became intrigued. Armed with an OS map and walking boots I found a breeding site the next day with no previous knowledge of the area at all.

I would guess someone intending to collect animals would have equal ability to figure things out?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iowarth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 10:59pm

Hi Gemma

I agree that this is a risk. In practice, however, I really cannot see any way of significantly reducing that risk. It is very easy, using the distribution maps in Beebee & Griffiths Amphibians and Reptiles to pin locations down to within a kilometre as it is with other resources - particularly on line. In short, a person who aims to take animals from the wild can establish locations with that degree of accuracy quite readily without placing themselves at risk by applying for records and thus identifying themselves.

Although I have no doubt that there is still a limited illegal trade in native reptiles I doubt if it is of any significance in terms of threat to the animals. Simply there is too high a risk related to too limited a return.  I retain a significant presence within the pet-keeping and captive breeding community (most of which has no awareness of my involvement in conservation) and have come across no instances of people offering UK animals for sale. While several UK species have been offered for sale in the last ten years these have been animals from eastern Europe and Asia. 

I would say that at least 90% of wild UK herps taken into captivity nowadays are by children not knowing better - and that is how many of us became involved. But, back then, we only accounted for 10% - if that. The bulk was commercial collecting for the trade.

The biggest risks in this day and age are direct persecution (particularly of snakes as most people don't know an adder from any other snake) and habitat destruction - by illegal development, inadequate (or downright criminal) mitigation and fire. 

It should be noted that ARCs policy regarding data sharing does include an element of judgment regarding who of the public should be allowed access to data.

So, all in all, I do not find myself unduly concerned by this aspect - it is actually easier for someone who wants to collect them and has a little knowledge about them, to do so using readily available information. That's how I found my first Sand Lizards - fifty something years ago using Malcolm Smith's book as the clue! (my gawd that makes me feel old!!)

All the best

Chris



Edited by Iowarth - 26 Sep 2012 at 11:03pm
Chris Davis, Site Administrator

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark_b Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Sep 2012 at 11:42pm

I think the National Federation for Biological Recording mentions quite a few good reasons to pass on records to organisations that manage or need them......

ŠŠ- Sustainable stewardship of the natural environment
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Biodiversity conservation
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- Environmental change
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- Policy formulation
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- Spatial planning
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- Development control
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Impact assessment and mitigation
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Research
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Education
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ŠŠCommunity involvement

Money/funding - the reason record centres’ have to charge is because they dont get enough funding to support themselves, so they have to run as a business (and do a very important job). It's a stupid idea to try and pay a recorder for each record, that's not what it is all about (i.e. doing it for free to assist the conservation of the species)and people would attempt to cheat the system.

 

Chris sums up the issue of people knowing where particularly species are very well - it isn't an issue - and how a record centre uses your data can be decided by you if you speak to them.

 

All sightings should be with your local record centre and go to the organisations that need them. If you give a damn about conservation then I can’t understand how anyone can be against this. (I do realise that there can be conflicts but if a record centre is running correctly and working with local recorders and groups then there shouldn’t be a problem).

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2012 at 12:30am
Well that is one view Mark!

Lots of good words in your list. 

But what if nobody actually makes any of that happen?

There seems to be a big difference between what the conservation aims listed are meant to achieve and what is actually achieved in reality.

Don't forget I came into this from the conservation side and switched to consultancy so I've been close to the inner workings of ARGs in the past.

I am not sure paying individual recorders is so stupid. It doesn't seem stupid to me when EARG and EFC both receive funds in Essex for records and well I don't. Perhaps I should take Noodles suggestion and sell my records to the highest bidder. Shame BRIE failed in Essex really else I would give them a call! I am literally at the point where with fuel prices today I cannot simply fund it voluntarily, if I could I surely would like I have for the last 30 years! I'm not a casual recorder, if I record a site these days I will be deploying ACO, that takes fuel, effort time and money.

I too was told one should send in records, I'm not entirely sure though from past experiences if I'm all that comfortable with the concept or how they might be used. I can for example trace some of my adder records that appear all over the place on all sorts of databases. Makes me glad I'm as paranoid as Rob and the dozens of other sites I know remain known to me only. I guess that is difficult to understand? It isn't so difficult when you arrive at one of 'your' sites and find you can't get near the hibernaculum for photographers and realise someone else has been writing about it as 'their' site and half of Essex now knows about it, particularly as that individual only knew where to find the animals because of records you submitted to them... ...and to add insult to injury any 'conservation' aim was completely lost because the land manager couldn't figure out the grid references provided to them and frankly didn't give a damn about adder anyway. (I need a head banging on wall emoticon can you add one Chris Wink)

This led me to 'drip feed' information, such as submitting only a single record of an adder if it would fill a 1 km square on a county database, rather than submitting numerous sighting reports etc.

PS Mark, I don't actually disagree with anything you said btw. In reality I would like to explore how records could be put to all those uses. I just don't think currently in Essex they are at all.

I guess though you would think it stupid to set-up an alternative web based system to the record pool independently where recorders are paid? I wonder which would get more records submitted. Of course there would need to be safeguards as with any system involving humans regarding abuse of the system, same for anything.

It was only a decade ago people said RAUK was a stupid idea, I don't think it was really. It has far more members than any ARG doesn't it? Big smile


Edited by GemmaJF - 27 Sep 2012 at 1:20am
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