Revitalizing Monographs


An NSF-sponsored series of workshops to revitalize monographic research.


Monographs are the most important and long-lasting output of systematics research. Monographs are usually monumental works, synthesizing years of study and data collection to document the nomenclatural history, voucher information, phenotypic measurements, molecular analyses, and species delimitation of a group of organisms.The value and impact of monographs is clear, but the practice of monography is ripe for reinvigoration. Publication numbers and training effort do not reflect the importance and value of these integrative, data-rich syntheses on the biodiversity of an organismal lineage: few contemporary professional systematists produce monographs and young students in systematics are rarely trained to do so. This lag in contemporary practice and the availability of new tools and new sources of data raise key questions: Do systematists still need to be producing the same kind of documents they have been producing for 200 years? What practices best support integrative, synthetic systematic biology and what products make the data available to an expanded audience? With support from the National Science Foundation, we are running a series of workshops aimed at catalyzing a shift in the practice and perception of monography.

Workshop 1 (completed): Bottlenecks and opportunities in monographic research

Workshop 2 (completed): New technologies to energize and unify monographic research

Workshop 3 (upcoming): Ideas Lab

We aim to synthesize these conversations into a series of perspectives and recommendations for the community, aiming to identify key needs, challenges, and opportunities of a more modern monography. To support this work, we are convening a 3-session virtual meeting to build collaborations, brainstorm and develop concise perspective pieces on the challenges, opportunities, and needs for modern monography. Participation is open to all members of the community, regardless of participation in earlier workshop sessions. These perspectives will be published as a special collection of the Bulletin of the Society of Systematic Biologists (the new online journal of the Society).

This is the presentation introducing our workshop: Presentation

Click here to register »

Useful resources for monographic research

Here is a list of resources we are compiling for monographic research.

Felipe Zapata (UCLA) & Marymegan Daly (OSU) are the PIs of this grant.