Vouchers and Scientific Research
A "voucher" is a representative of the taxon dealt with in a biological study. Voucher specimens deposited at recognized, permanent and publicly accessible research collections are the only reliable means to verify the identity of the organism used in biological, taxonomic, faunistic and experimental studies. It is vital that research scientists preserve representatives of the taxa they work with so these specimens will be available for examination if and when questions arise. In addition to their role as permanent reference of the organisms in a particular study, voucher specimens of agricultural, ecological and faunistic research may also become valuable resources for taxonomic and systematics studies.
The Ohio State University Acarology Collection (OSAL) encourages faculty, students and staff at the university, as well as researchers that are not affiliated with OSU, to deposit mite voucher specimens in our collection. As our holdings also include materials from other arachnid groups (spiders, scorpions, Opiliones, etc.), we also accept material for such groups. Contact the director on procedures.
Vouchering requires careful preparation and labeling of the specimens. Researchers looking to deposit their vouchers or collections at OSAL should contact us to discuss the proposed deposit and to receive specific information on voucher preparation and submission.
Conditions for Voucher Deposition at the OSAL
- Voucher specimens are incorporated into the general collection, according to the taxonomic determination. Label data for all voucher specimens are recorded in our specimen database and made available online, unless prohibited by law or specified by prior agreement.
- As the depository for the vouchers, the OSAL collection should be clearly identified on all traditional and electronic publications citing or resulting from the study of the vouchers, including databases and webpages. Citation should be made as follows: "Ohio State University Acarology Collection (OSAL)".
- The OSAL collection does not accept vouchers that are inadequately prepared, damaged, poorly preserved or that lack applicable collecting documentation (such as collecting permits, export and/or import permits).
All voucher specimens should be properly prepared and labeled prior to deposition. Label data for recently collected specimens should contain: collecting locality (including GPS coordinates, country, state, municipality), date of collection (preferably with day, month, and year), collector(s) name(s), and other pertinent details (habitat, host, etc.) as available. Specimens should bear a determination label with taxon name and author. All labels should be clearly legible. Complete label data submitted separately in electronic file is acceptable, as long as the correspondence between specimens and electronic data is clear.
All voucher specimens, whether individual microscopic slides or alcohol vials, will be assigned a unique specimen identifier if such is not provided by the depositor. Ideally this unique id should become part of the specimen information and be reported in every publication (traditional or electronic) where the vouchers are cited.
In addition, the following information is required for voucher deposition:
- Copy of Collecting Permits (when applicable)
- Copy of Export/Import Permits (when applicable)
- Research project name and brief description (when applicable)
- Name of person(s) depositing voucher specimens
- Number of vouchers being deposited
- Date of deposit