In the specific case of amphibians, in June 2009, a proposal to change the GAA citation system was sent out to ASG Regional Chairs for their input. Development of this proposal was prompted by feedback relating to the system implemented in the 2004 comprehensive assessment and the Amphibian RLA’s experience in conducting updates to the database.
The key proposed change was a modification of how individual amphibian species assessments are cited on The IUCN Red List. The 2004 GAA citation format listed all of the experts who have ever been involved in determining a species’ conservation assessment (i.e. all of the “assessors”). In most cases, the default Reviewers for these species were members of the GAA Coordinating Team. Database updates subsequent to 2004 revealed several issues around the use of this format (i.e. if a species is reassessed, should we remove all previous assessors and include only the new assessors, or leave them there? How do we determine order of assessors for the purpose of citation, especially if additional people assist with assessment updates?).
The IUCN Red List amphibian database changed its base operating system in 2009 and is now housed within SIS. This is a standardized system used for all assessments and all taxonomic groups within The IUCN Red List. SIS includes, in addition to Assessor and Reviewer fields, a field for Contributors and a field for Facilitators/Compilers. These additional fields provide us with the opportunity to change the way we cite individual assessments. The 2009 proposal was to use these fields to standardize the citation format for all individual species as follows:
Assessors: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) and the partner organizations/groups responsible for the species in question, if any
Reviewers: Reviewer name(s), typically a member of the Amphibian RLA or member of the IUCN Global Species Programme
Contributors: A list of all the experts who applied the Red List categories and criteria and who contributed information to the assessment, past and present, listed in alphabetical order by first name
Facilitators/Compilers: Facilitator/Compiler names, Amphibian RLA members, members of the IUCN Global Species Programme, or Amphibian RLA volunteers/interns
The implementation of this proposal has changed how amphibian species accounts on The IUCN Red List are cited. An example of how this new arrangement reads is as follows:
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2012. Adenomus kandianus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 08 February 2014.
The citation proposal received limited feedback, but most comments were positive. The citation change is being slowly implemented as new groups begin to take on the role of assessors and as previous assessors are entered into SIS (people cannot be added as contributors unless they are entered in SIS as users via a valid email address).
NB The new citation format is only to be used in new assessments or reassessments. It cannot be implemented retroactively to older, published assessments.