validity of taxonomic publication

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at FMPPR.FMNH.ORG
Wed Feb 19 13:04:06 CST 1997

At 12:33 PM 02-19-97 -0600, Paul J. Johnson wrote:

>Life in this little is a bit more complicated.  In the United States is
>a document service, University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan, that
>has conned our universities and colleges into having all doctoral and
>many M.S. theses "published."  The student is required to pay all
>charges and in exchange has the dubious privilage of having their
>document copyrighted for them, though it is actually in the name of UM.
>In fact, UM sells copies of each thesis, and in a practical sense royalities
>do not go to most authors because of the low
>volume of sales of most theses.  Indeed, according to the Zoological Code
>nomenclatural acts done within a thesis are not valid and the UM
>"publication" system does not qualify.  However, this restriction only
>applies to only to nomenclatural acts, such as new names, synonymies, etc.  All
>other data is available and the question of published or not must be
>reconsidered.  For example, distributional records, ecological
>measures, and other non-nomenclatural information can be considered
>      In my familiarity, there has not been adequate discussion and
>community-wide decision in the zoological sciences as to whether
>non-nomenclatural information in a thesis is acceptably published, or
>under what constraints.  However, UM considers their process as
>publication, and many professional categories do consider UM
>publication as valid.  I'm not positive on my recollection, but did not
>the latest botanical code completely discount thesis information as
>published, or was this only nomenclatural data?

Botanists have taken this into account.  Art. 29.1 of the International Code
of Botanical Nomenclature states: "Publication ... is not effected ... by
the issue of microfilm made from manuscripts, type-scripts or other
unpublished material."

Thomas G. Lammers
Department of Botany                     Classification, Nomenclature,
Field Museum of Natural History          Phylogeny and Biogeography
Roosevelt Road at Lake Shore Drive       of the Campanulaceae
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496 USA

e-mail:     lammers at
voice mail: 312-922-9410 ext. 317
fax:        312-427-2530

"... what could possibly be easier or more beautiful than 'Campanula'?  What
affectation more gratuitous and silly than 'bell-flower'?"  -- R. Farrer

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