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Quality Assurance

Hierarchical Coordination of Scientific Core Content

ToL scientific contributions are created by biologists who have thorough knowledge about the organisms they write about. In order to ensure that ToL contributors are among the principal experts for a given group, development of the project's scientific core content is achieved through a community-based, hierarchical coordination model.

Authors of ToL branch and leaf pages are selected by the coordinators of a given group of organisms. For example, the authors of the sac fungi and club fungi pages were selected by the fungi coordinators. ToL coordinators are themselves usually authors of the basal pages for a given group of organisms (the fungi coordinators are the authors of the fungi page), such that each author of a ToL page serves as the coordinator for the pages descending from his or her group:

diagram of hierarchical ToL coordination

A coordinator chooses biologists to author and coordinate subgroups based on their expertise as demonstrated by their publication record, research program, and reputation within the scientific community. Coordinators encourage collaborations between the principal experts for a given group, and they serve as associate editors and advisors for their section of the tree. Thus, the Tree of Life project functions more like a multi-chapter book, with authors chosen by the editors and associate editors, and less like a scientific journal, with submitted papers.

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