thesis publications

Fri Feb 28 21:00:10 CST 1997

   I have  been cogitating all day on the suggestion that the
acceptance  of   the   validity   of   names   contained   in
dissertations might preclude the reprinting of these names in
journals. This  is not  such a  bad idea  after all.  We  are
swamped  with  hundreds  of  thousands  of  journal  articles
printed  each   year.  If   information  is  contained  in  a
dissertation available  from University  Microfilms to anyone
who needs  to use  it, printing  it in  a journal really is a
duplication of effort, a complete waste of ligno-cellulose.
   The "publish-or-perish"  phenomenon has  had a  pernicious
affect on  science, often  resulting of  the fragmentation of
information into  the smallest  possible  units.  Taxonomists
have the  advantage over  other scientists  in that  they can
cheat  rather  easily.  If  I  am  doing  a  monograph  of  a
particular genus  in which  I am planning to describe six new
species and  make recombinations  for five others, I can very
easily get  twelve publications  out of  the deal. It's easy:
send the  six descriptions  and five recombination statements
to be  published separately,  possibly  in  eleven  different
journals, and  wait until they are in print before publishing
the monograph.  Believe me, I am guilty of this kind of thing
myself. I  am not stupid; this is the way the game is played,
and I  am immersed  in the system as much as the next person.
This does not mean that I approve of the rules.
   The ideal  question to  ask here is not what is beneficial
to individual  scientists, to  publish new names in a lengthy
dissertation or  in  short  journal  articles.  The  question
ideally should  be what  is best  for science. The scientific
community needs  information to  be made available as rapidly
as possible,  and preferably  in a  work  lengthy  enough  to
contain  all   the  available  information  on  a  particular
subject. If the data are contained in a dissertation accepted
by a  university and  available through  Interlibrary Loan or
University Microfilms  or  whatever,  then  republishing  the
exact same  data in  a journal  is redundant. What we need is
more  efficient   means  of   informing  people   where   the
appropriate information  is located  and means  of making  it
easier for people to obtain copies of the writings.
   So, how is this as a proposed new article for the ICBN?

Article  30.5.   Inclusion  of   new   names   or   neo-   or
lectotypifications in a thesis or dissertation required to be
written as  part of  a degree  program at  an institution  of
higher education  is considered  effective publication if and
only if  1) The  degree program  was completed  on or after 1
January 2000; 2) The thesis or dissertation is made available
by sale,  trade, or gift to people at institutions other than
that at  which the  degree was awarded, whether by electronic
publication, microfilm  xerography, or more traditional means
of dissemination;  and 3) All other requirements of this Code
are met.  For purposes  of priority, effective publication is
dated from  the day the thesis or dissertation was officially
accepted at the author's institution.

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

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