[Essential procedure and key methods for survey of traditional knowledge related to Chinese materia medica resources].Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2014 Dec; 39(24):4728-31.ZZ
The survey of traditional knowledge related to Chinese materia medica resources is the important component and one of the innovative aspects of the fourth national survey of the Chinese materia medica resources. China has rich traditional knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and the comprehensive investigation of TCM traditional knowledge aims to promote conservation and sustainable use of Chinese materia medica resources. Building upon the field work of pilot investigations, this paper introduces the essential procedures and key methods for conducting the survey of traditional knowledge related to Chinese materia medica resources. The essential procedures are as follows. First is the preparation phrase. It is important to review all relevant literature and provide training to the survey teams so that they have clear understanding of the concept of traditional knowledge and master key survey methods. Second is the field investigation phrase. When conducting field investigations, survey teams should identify the traditional knowledge holders by using the 'snowball method', record the traditional knowledge after obtaining prior informed concerned from the traditional knowledge holders. Researchers should fill out the survey forms provided by the Technical Specification of the Fourth National Survey of Chinese Materia Medica Resources. Researchers should pay particular attention to the scope of traditional knowledge and the method of inheriting the knowledge, which are the key information for traditional knowledge holders and potential users to reach mutual agreed terms to achieve benefit sharing. Third is the data compilation and analysis phrase. Researchers should try to compile and edit the TCM traditional knowledge in accordance with intellectual property rights requirements so that the information collected through the national survey can serve as the basic data for the TCM traditional knowledge database. The key methods of the survey include regional division of Chinese materia medica resources, interview of key information holders and standardization of information.' In particular, using "snowball method" can effectively identify traditional knowledge holder in the targeted regions and ensuring traditional knowledge holders receiving prior informed concerned before sharing the information with researcher to make sure the rights of traditional knowledge holders are protected. Employing right survey methods is not only the key to obtain traditional knowledge related to Chinese materia medica resources, but also the pathway to fulfill the objectives of access and benefit sharing stipulated in Convention on Biological Resources. It will promote the legal protection of TCM traditional knowledge and conservation of TCM intangible, cultural heritage.