Talk:Zhang Dongju

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Notable or ONEEVENT?[edit]

While ostensibly about the subject scientist, this article only says about her that she is an archaeologist from China. The rest discusses the discovery and characterization of a Denisovan fossil, and though it mentions her role in that discovery, none of the material is about her. That she is an archaeologist is literally the only datum that is about her and not the Denisovan bone. To merit an independent biography, someone needs to be noteworthy independent of a notable event in which they played a role, or their role needs to have been the focus of substantial coverage to make it independently noteworthy. Otherwise, WP:ONEEVENT would apply (if all we can say of her is that she made this discovery, we already say that on the Denisovan page and don't need to repeat the Denisovan saga on a second page). What is her background, degree(s), academic appointments, research focus, etc.? If we can't answer those basic questions (based on sources), then she probably does not merit independent coverage at this time, and at best this page should just redirect to Denisovan. Agricolae (talk) 12:25, 2 May 2019 (UTC)

Agricolae, my thought was that she met WP:NACADEMIC based on criteria 1: The person's research has had a significant impact in their scholarly discipline, broadly construed, as demonstrated by independent reliable sources. She connected the Denisova Cave fossils to a group 1400 miles away, and other academics are likely to replicate her work by reexamining other fossil evidence. That seem like it's a pretty significant impact. --valereee (talk) 13:24, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, I get that, which is why I tagged it to allow opportunity for improvement rather than immediately AfDing it. However, I would suggest that 'significant impact on their discipline' was never intended to cover publishing one fossil, no matter how surprising the result or how different the approach (well, OK, if someone published on a human skull found within a T. rex ribcage, that might be a different story, but that is not what this is). With regard to Denisovans, this was certainly a noteworthy discovery, but it is not like she was the first to used ancient protein for molecular paleontology. She may well come to be viewed as revolutionizing paleoanthropology with this approach, but impact on an entire discipline certainly takes more time than the day and a half that has passed since publication. Svante Paabo came to be viewed as pioneer of ancient DNA (not just on paleo-humans) and for the decade that followed, every paper in the field seemed to have him as a coauthor, or involved someone he trained or had collaborated with. He has given talks, written books, trained a good bit of those working in the field - that is impacting the discipline. Only time will tell if Zhang has a similar impact, and if she does, we will have a lot more to write about than just this one discovery. The only way this isn't just ONEEVENT is if there is some indication this person exists in the larger sphere (and the article is rewritten to reflect that), beyond being one of the three co-leaders of the team that published this one paper. Agricolae (talk) 14:23, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
Agricolae, for me it wasn't just using the approach (though that's part of it) but that she it used it to prove an entire branch of hominid was spread throughout Asia. Maybe I'm too much of an acheology nerd, but that just seemed like incredibly huge news to me when I heard it yesterday! :) Well, we'll see. The news just came out, and within hours there were a gazillion articles out there about it, maybe what you're looking for is in some of them! --valereee (talk) 16:02, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
(jeesh, you moved the Talk page out from under me mid-edit) That makes the scientific finding noteworthy to scientists. It may even make the approach notable (except it already was, its been used of dinosaurs and ancient mammals and already had a page) but it does not make the scientist who uses an established approach to address a new question inherently notable. Time will indeed tell whether this person will be viewed as having a significant impact on her discipline. Certainly the potential is there for it to happen, but we will only know that years from now - just as there are people who have a huge public breakout that establishes their careers as one of the lights of their field, there are also numerous examples of people who find themselves the focus of a one-time media circus and then disappear again into obscurity (e.g. the molecular biologist who got a NASA press conference and a flurry of reporting over the next few days for discovering arsenic-based DNA. Remember her?). If all this decision is based on is whether right now this researcher can be said to have a significant impact on her discipline, I don't think she has, not yet. Agricolae (talk) 18:37, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
lol sorry about the page move! :D --valereee (talk) 18:55, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think a major scientific discovery like this should be considered WP:ONEEVENT. Although the published finding may seem to suddenly burst into public awareness as a single event, it is actually the culmination of years of meticulous research. According to the NYT article, she began researching the jaw bone in 2010, and spent almost a decade locating the cave, excavating it, analyzing and verifying the findings, and finally getting her paper published in Nature. This is no doubt a significant discovery, and if it's upheld (most Nature articles hold up well under scrutiny), I think her notability as the lead scientist should be beyond reasonable doubt. Chinese media is unusually slow picking up this story (possibly because of the extra scrutiny by censors required for a story pertaining to Tibetans :-), but I am seeing reports coming out which provide more personal info about the scientist. I will add more info to the article as it becomes available. -Zanhe (talk) 19:05, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I don't think WP:ONEEVENT applies here because it says If the event is highly significant, and the individual's role within it is a large one, a separate article is generally appropriate. In my view, this event is highly significant, and the individual's role within it is a large one. WP:NPROF 1 seems satisfied; whether publishing one fossil has a significant impact really depends on the fossil. I am in no position to judge how important this jawbone is in the grand scheme of things, so I rely on RSes... and National Geographic and Science seem to be saying it's a significant event. I mean, it's really made a splash in the media in the last day or so. Is it fair to say that this is the most important fossil published in the past year? Levivich 20:29, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
I agree that WP:ONEEVENT is not really a concern here. Note in particular the second point of WP:BLP1E: it's more about people who have fame thrust upon them than it is about people who put in years of work on a project that, if successful, would almost inevitably earn them significant press. XOR'easter (talk) 15:11, 3 May 2019 (UTC)