valid publication in theses

Tue Feb 25 08:10:48 CST 1997

Concerning John MacNeil's discussion yesterday of valid publication
of new names in theses under the ICBN, there is a problem.
As I understand what John said, if I were to deposit a
copy of my thesis only in my own library, the names therein
would not be validly published, but if I were to run off
an additional copy on my laser printer and send it to an
obscure herbarium in some other country, they would be valid.
The problem with this is that if someone were to pick the
thesis off the shelf, there would be no way for the reader to
determine how widely the work had been disseminated. The
exact same problem exists for the proposal that all new
new names be sent to a central registry office. How is
a reader supposed to tell from reading a journal whether
or not the editor sent a copy to the registry committee?
   As for theses, I believe the prohibition against
publication of new names in phd dissertations is
antiquated and should
be dropped. The existence of international reference
resources such as Index Kewensis and Dissertation
Abstracts suffice to alert the taxonomic community of
the existence and location of the new names, and
facilities such as University Microfilms render the
works every bit as available as any journal. The problem
of course is that theses are not subject to nearly as
severe refereeing as a major journal; hence the
quality control will be minimal at best. Many countries
have not only doctoral and master's theses like in the US,
but bachelor's theses as well. I have had occasion to
sit in the library of a Mexican university and plow
through lists of hundreds after hundreds of bachelor's
theses of decidedly mixed quality. We need to reach
some kind of an agreement about things like that.
   I do believe
that if a work is made readily available to the
world systematics community it should be accepted.
This is subject to the proviso that the availability
should be permanent. This is my reservation concerning
electronic publication. There is no guarantee
that the technology currently available for such
publication will still be readable 100 years hence.
Such permanence is made essential by the priority
rules forming the root core of scientific nomenclature.

Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere, 4717 E First St., Tucson AZ 85711 USA
JosephL at

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