Qualifications & Appointments
BSc (Hons), Biology, University of London, 1976
PhD, Biological Computing, University of Westminster / Natural History Museum, 1979
Council, British Classification Society (1987-1991)
Council, Systematics Association (1991-1995)
Chair, IUBS Taxonomic Database Working Group Data Exchange Committee (1986-1993)
Scientific Advisory Board, Centre for Plant Conservation, Missouri Botanical Garden (1996-2000)
I work toward the effective delivery of information about plants, particularly to those outside of science, and in measuring the impact of such services.
Who uses our information and how? What benefits do they derive? What are the social and scientific impacts of this use? Knowledge-based initiatives and the delivery of appropriately designed information products and services can contribute toward achieving Kew’s strategic goals and in demonstrating the relevance of our science to others.
I have 25 years experience managing and disseminating information about plant biodiversity; leading and working in multidisciplinary teams to design and manage databases and deliver information services. I designed and ran an information network in Brazil in support of rural development involving 40 institutional partners, linking scientists with organisations needing plant information to livelihoods & development goals.
More recently I managed the design and delivery of The Plant List (www.theplantlist.org) merging plant name resources from Kew, the Missouri Botanical Garden and other collaborating institutions in order to meet Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. I manage the IT components of various plant name resources at Kew and initiatives to promote access to these data. I lead on the Medicinal Plant Names Services project (now funded through a grant from the Wellcome Trust to Alan Paton and me) to build sustainable information services specifically for the health and pharmaceutical sectors.
- Authentication and Chemical Fingerprinting of Economically Important Species
- iPlants (project completed 2006)
- Legumes of the World Online
- Medicinal Plant Names Services
- Monocot Checklist-Project Completed
- OpenUp! – Opening up the European natural history heritage for Europeana
- Palmweb - Palms of the world On-line
- Plant Information for Northeast Brazil (Project completed 2009)
- Science and Horticulture Systems
- Target 1 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2010- A working list of known plant species.
Selected Recent Publications
Allkin, R, Duin, D., Eekhout, X. & Lyal, C. (2009a) Meeting the needs of those who use scientific names. [Poster Abstract]. e-Biosphere 09 (e-Biosphere 09).
Allkin, R. (2009b) Communicating safely & effectively using plant names. Consortium for Globalization of Chinese Medicine (www.tcmedicine.org).
Paton, A.J., Brummitt, N., Govaerts, R., Harman, K. Hinchcliffe, S., Allkin, R. & NicLughadha, E. (2008). Towards Target 1 of the Global Strategy For Plant Conservation: a working list of all known plant species – progress and prospects. Taxon 57: 602–611.
Simmonds, M. S. J., Leon, C., Howes, M. J., Paton, A., Allkin, R., Kite, G. C. & Porter, E. (2010) Authentication of plants used in medicines, especially traditional Chinese medicine: challenges and opportunities. [Abstract]. Revista de Fitoterapia 10(S1): 179 (www.fitoterapia.net).
Allkin, R. (2006). Plant names as obstacles and solutions to accessing information about medicinal plants. In Barnes, J. (ed.) Pharmacovigilance of herbal medicines: current state and future directions. Drug Safety 29(4):341-370.
Selected Earlier Publications
Allkin, R. (2001). Collaboration and communication in the Caatinga. New Agriculturist on-line. (www.new-ag.info).
Allkin, R. & Sampaio, E. (2001). Plantas do Nordeste: Subprogramme for information, dissemination and training (SIDT). European Tropical Forest Research Network News 31. (www.etrfn.org).
Allkin, R. (1998). Effective management and delivery of natural resource information. In Bridge, P., Jeffries, P., Morse, D.R. & Scott, P.R. (eds) Information technology, plant pathology and Biodiversity. Wallingford: CAB International. 87-102.
Allkin, R. (1997). Data management within collaborative projects. In Dransfield, J., Coode, M.J.E. & Simpson, D.A. (eds) Plant diversity in Malesia III. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 5-24.
Allkin, R. & Winfield, P.J. (1994). Software development strategies for Global Plant Information Systems. In Bisby, F.A., Pankhurst, R.J. & Russell, G.R. (eds). Designs for a global plant species information system. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 304-320.
Allkin, R., Moreno, N.P., Gama Campillo, L. & Mejia, T. (1992). Multiple uses for computer-stored taxonomic descriptions: Keys for Veracruz. Taxon 41(3): 413-436.
Allkin, R. & Bisby, F.A. (eds) (1984). Databases in systematics. Systematics Association Special Vol. 26. London: Academic Press.