validity of taxonomic publication

Robin Leech robinl at NAIT.AB.CA
Sun Feb 23 18:59:17 CST 1997

A newspaper is a "publication" but placing the name and description of a
new taxon, even with acceptable diagnostic drawings/photos/micrographs, does
not constitute publication.

Yes, a printed thesis is a "document", but by the nature of such a
document as a thesis, and its distribution and knowledge of its
availability to one and all, preclude its being accepted as "constituting
or effecting publication".

You can start your own journal, and as long as the terms of reference for
distribution are met, and the names and descriptions and diagnoses and
illustrations of the new taxon or taxa are adequate, you have "effected
publication", the name or names you have proposed will be valid.  Some
people have opted for this route - there was a hemipterist in California
back during the 50s (and 60s), who published on mirids, who did this.  I
will not go into details here, but few, if any, accepted his names.

Robin Leech

On Fri, 21 Feb 1997, Melissa C. Winans wrote:

> At 02:51 PM 2/19/97 EST, John McNeill wrote:
> > . . . .  Surely, if a printed thesis is a
> >"document", so is each issue of a scientific journal, and such
> >"documents" are all deposited in libraries - ergo, publication in,
> >say, the Canadian Entomologist, is as much ruled out by Art. 9 (11) as
> >are published theses, clearly an absurd situation.  Maybe Philip Tubb
> >or Alessandro Minelli can enlighten me as to why one is a document and
> >the other is not?
> >
> > . . .
> >
> >The key Article is Art. 29.1:
> >
> >"Publication is effected, under this _Code_, only by distribution of
> >printed matter (through sale, exchange or gift) to the general public
> >or at least to botanical institutions with libraries accessible to
> >botanists generally.   It is not effected by communication of new
> >names at a public meeting, by the placing of names in collections or
> >gardens open to the public, or by the issue of microfilm made from
> >manuscripts, type-scripts or other unpublished material".
> >
> >Apart from Article 30, which deals with a few specific issues, largely
> >of the past, that is the rule.
> >
> >What this means is that, whereas electronic media are ruled out,
> >anything that is "printed" (and that has to include laser-printed, and
> >indistinguishable offset therefrom) and distributed to at least two
> >botanical libraries (note the plural "libraries" in the Article) is
> >effectively published.  Therefore, nowadays, virtually every graduate
> >thesis is effectively published under the terms of this Article - so
> >long as the thesis is [laser -]printed and deposited in more than one
> >library "accessible to botanists generally".
> Although the language of Art. 29.1 could indeed be interpreted as John
> McNeill suggests, I question whether that was in fact the writers intention.
> When I was working for the Bibliography of Fossil Vertebrates we interpreted
> the similar language of the ICZN as meaning that to qualify as "published" a
> document must be **widely disseminated**, so that the majority of workers in
> the field will have easy access to the information.  The average journal is
> distributed to many thousands of individual libraries and subscribers, while
> a thesis generally is distributed only to members of the student's
> committee, one or two libraries on the campus of the university where it was
> written, and possibly to a few friends and colleagues.  This makes it
> unlikely that members of the scientific community at large will be aware of
> a thesis's existence.
> > . . . what about the theses submitted to many
> >Universities on the continent of Europe, which are required to be
> >printed and published (often in a journal) as a part of the thesis
> >defence/defense process.  Are these also proscribed under Art. 9 (11)?
> I very much doubt that this would make any difference to the publication
> status of the thesis itself, but the resulting journal
> article/memoir/whatever certainly would count as published.
> ****************************************************************
> Melissa C. Winans, Collection Manager (mcwinans at
> Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory      Phone: 512-471-6087
> J.J. Pickle Research Campus               Fax: 512-471-5973
> University of Texas, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758

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